Saturday night was just one of those nights.
Joined by my wonderful friends T &L we began the evening in the lounge at Aria. Sipping on a cocktail. Of course, as always drawn by it's magical power, I couldn't resist the Bacon Sour.
A glorious concoction of Makers Mark infused with bacon, maple syrup and lemon juice. The maple candied bacon sitting atop the rim of my glass was one of Roo's famous 'I need a moment to myself' moments. The sweet tackiness of the maple syrup coats the crispy salty bacon.....excuse me I think I just need another moment to myself!
You know I'm a sucker when it comes to bacon anything and add maple syrup...well I'm an easy pleased young lady!
If only my lighting was better....or had a better iphone (time to upgrade me thinks)
The passionfruit martini is pretty good too.
We are seated in the middle of the restaurant, with hints of the harbour bridge twinkling with city lights. The restaurant is dim, however we are basked in soft lighting from the little table lamp perched to one side of the table.
This is to be my first fine dining experience in Sydney. I was lucky enough to meet Matt Moran a few weeks ago at a cooking class at the Sydney Seafood School so I was super excited to taste the menu. We toss up between the tasting menu and the 4 course menu and decide to go with the latter as a few of the options on the menu were part of the tasting menu anyway.
We are served an amouse bouche to get the taste buds started. Here we have prawn with pickled watermelon and feta. It's the perfect little bite in a bowl. My taste buds are in for a party!
can I amuse you with a small bite?
Sourdough rolls are offered along with Pepe Saya butter. Here we have a salted buttered and a seaweed and dashi butter. If I didn't have to share it I would have slathered that all onto my sourdough. It was divine!
pepe saya butter
Mr T chooses a Sangreal by Farr 2012 Pinot Noir - it's the perfect red to be sipping with our menu choices.
I immediately fall in love with the Aria wine glasses.
The only problem with a 4 course menu is that you have to choose your dishes and there are just so many to choose from. With the tasting menu, you just go with the flow. I'm torn so go with the last minute option and hope it's the right choice. I am already preparing for food envy!
I start with the Southern calamari with Iberico Jamon, garlic custard and shiitake mushroom tea. It's picture perfect and smells wonderful.
southern calamari, Iberico Jamon, garlic custard and shiitake mushroom tea
The calamari is so tender and slippery and the saltiness of the jamon is a lovely combination. I love the cracker on top, although haven't worked out what it was.
T & L both go with the Raw Hiramasa kingfish with beetroot, lime and horseradish.
Raw Hiramasa kingfish with beetroot, lime and horseradish
Our second course arrives not long after and it's another delight.
My dish is the pressed Jurassic quail and foie gras with smoked eel and radish.
pressed Jurassic quail and foie gras with smoked eel and radish
The Jurassic quail is served in a terrine style slice. The crispiness of the radish gives great textures to the meatiness of the quail and foie gras. The hint of smoked eel is lovely.
The other dishes that left me with a little food envy were the Murray cod with sour blueberries, guanciale and rosemary.
Murray cod with sour blueberries, guanciale and rosemary
The kurabuta pork belly with apple, swede and hazelnuts looked mouthwatering.
kurabuta pork belly with apple, swede and hazelnuts
By the third (main) course came around I was already feeling a little full. the main course is served with mashed potato and a mixed salad as side dishes.
I opted for the lamb loin with sweetbread sausage, broad beans and charred globe artichokes.
lambloin with sweetbread sausage, broad beans and charred globe artichokes
Cooked to medium rare and was melt in the mouth. The sweetbread sausage is a delicious way to introduce someone to sweetbreads.
T&L decide on the Cervena venison fillet and crepinette with Japanese pumpkin, red witlof, black pepper and riberry sauce and the steamed bass grouper with spanner crab, Coorong pipis and smoked dulse. Having no idea what dulse is I was intrigued. Turns out it's a sea vegetable.
Cervena venison fillet and crepinette with Japanese pumpkin, red witlof, black pepper and riberry sauce
steamed bass grouper with spanner crab, Coorong pipis and smoked dulse
Between courses we had a palate cleanser of sorbet. From memory it was honey and [something] granita with yoghurt and fried mandarin.
Desserts had not yet been chosen, so we pondered for small break before ordering. I go with something completely different to what I would normally sway towards and decided on the pineapple with Jerusalem artichoke, buttermilk sorbet, mint and lime. It's a winner. The pineapple is sweet and not so tangy, the buttermilk sorbet is light with a hint of creamy sourness, which is not unpleasant by a long shot. The shavings of Jerusalem artichoke are draped lovingly over a quenelle of sorbet.
Other sweet endings (which aren't quiet at the end) is the passionfruit crumble souffle with macadamia nut gelato served in a very rustic copper saucepan for one and the blood orange with muntries, beetroot and coconut ice cream.
Both desserts look spectacular, particularly the souffle as the macadamia nut gelato is dolloped on top and melts and oozes into the souffle. Mmm.....dreamy.
We end the evening with an aperitif. I choose a 2013 Massolino Moscata D'Asi - bright semi sparkling sweet wine style from a boutique produce in the seerralunga d'alba. Subte musk and sage aromatics with a pinch of peach and citrus twist. Very sweet, light bubbles and definitely a pleaser on the palate.
However, no exquisite meal is complete without a platter of petit fours. A wonderful selection of macarons, truffles, blackberry jelly, lemon marshmallow and a teeny tiny cupcake.
petit fours for three
I loved every minute of my experience here at Aria and they certainly live up to a two hatted restaurant. The waiters are attentive without being intrusive, knowledgeable and friendly. The food is phenomenal and I know that I would like to dine here again for a special occasion.
Thanks to my wonderful friends who gifted me this wonderful experience and for T&L you joined me for an amazing birthday celebration that is literally keeps going and going!