When October foodie month hits, bam i'm into it like there's no tomorrow. Rain or shine, 5 assessments due or none, there is no resisting the lunch-time fine dining hit. After that infamous and notoriously difficult chocolate tasting plate, I've had my eye on Aria ever since. And what better excuse to go there then with the promise of a lunchtime deal that involves barramundi and crab? I've walked past Aria on the way to the Opera House so often, this is one of the rare times I've never gotten lost on the way to a restaurant. Impressive. A kind thanks to my friend D for being the photographer of the day.
The moody Spring day threatened to rain but fortunately the weather held. The decor inside isn't particularly eye-catching and was rather uninspiring, but I suppose that's to avoid detracting from the gorgeous view of the harbor and the house and the ocean that separates us. The restaurant was unsurprisingly packed so there is an element of coziness albeit a comfortable distance still separated customers. I did, however, ask for harbor side views well in advance. We got a table against the wall which provided slightly inadequate views so that was slightly disappointing. We were swiftly handed menus, however I already had in mind what I was going to order. It's good to see Aria being one of the only fine diners that offer salt and pepper grinders in that they acknowledge customer's individual tastes.
Sourdough was served and was freshly baked, warm and fluffy and came out with room temperature, softened and easily spreadable butter.
A complementary amuse bouche was given out which was a sign of Aria's generosity. The gazpacho was quite pleasant as you could taste the quality of the tomatoes boosted up with hits of basil and quality olive oil.
|CONE BAY ROASTED BARRAMUNDI with Alaskan crab and pumpkin risotto $38|
|Truffled potato mash $15|
|CHOCOLATE Valrhona "caramelin" mousse with candied cumquats, gold leaf and pecans $20|
I appreciated how this dish was plated up with the tempered chocolate roll housing a smooth mousse. Valrhona chocolate was delightfully dark and the crisps provided a nice texture. What was really cool was the gold leaf that had us bemused for minutes. Ahhh the little things. However what I really didn't enjoy was the addition of kumquats. To me they tasted very medicinal and it wasn't really helped with the addition of honey.
|BOMBE mango and vanilla bombe with black sesame tuille and raspberry sauce $20|
This dish was OVERWHELMINGLY good. If spring and summer had a taste, this would be it. And I would eat it daily. At first I was wondering where the raspberry sauce was, in cracking the meringue "Bombe", it revealed a pool of coulis daintily housed around a nicely separated duo of creamy and fragrant vanilla bean ice cream and delectable mango sorbet. The caramelised exterior of the meringue added a very subtle and enjoyable chariness to the dessert. Pieces of fresh mango and a quinelle of mango sorbet reinforced the flavours and the black sesame tuille gave a pleasant nutty texture. By far one of the best desserts I've had this year.
|PETIT FOURS chocolate truffle, raspberry jelly, macaroon $5|
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