Petit Fours: a Sydney food blog


Petit Fours: a Sydney food blog


Petit Fours: a Sydney food blog

Friday, 14 October 2011

Aria Let's do Lunch, Bennelong

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
Barramundi was the protein of the day and appropriately so. My friend D adores her barramundi, nevertheless there was a certain reluctance from her as agreeably, inexpert pan frying does tends to dry things out. No fear, that barramundi was moist, flaking and incredibly well cooked. The skin was delightfully crisp. The picture doesn't do it any justice. This is the epitome of barramundi cookery, it was THAT good. One would doubt the seasonal appropriateness of serving pumpkin, however I am not one. I've never really minded and I found the pumpkin gave it a certain heartiness to cheer up the gloomy day. If I had a qualm though, it would be that the Alaskan crab wasn't given out generously enough where I could only see small flakes of it and couldn't taste it at all. Fun fact: Alaskan Crab fishing happens to the be the most fatal job in the world.

Truffled potato mash $15
The mash was as mash should be: creamy, moreish, buttery and just so bloody yummy. It was so good that it had my friend raving for hours after and happily declaring that she could sit down with a bowl of it everyday for the rest of her life.

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
Score! These petit fours were given out free of charge however I didn't really know whether it was a mistake on the waiter's part or the restaurant's generosity. I really do hope it was the latter. Despite the chocolate truffle being nothing out of the ordinary, I still really enjoyed the rich darkness of it. The raspberry jelly tasted like normal jellies however a lot softer. The macaroon obviously tasted very coconutty.

I really appreciated how seriously Aria takes their "Lets do Lunches" in October. They've got two new menus dedicated to this time and despite the dessert menu being the same as the regular one, they've actually become a few dollars cheaper around this time. I really implore you to go to Aria especially during this time because usual prices admittedly are a bit steep. However it is definitely worth it but I think i'll consider going for entrees next time round instead of desserts.

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No, we aren't the most amazing gastronomes or chefs. Heck, half our team doesn't even know how to cook... well. However, what we really love is eating. And lots of it. We enjoy that occasional freebie, filling up that craving for a midnight snack and finding a 20 in our pockets that we thought we never had, and using that as an excuse to go out eating. As we battle the ongoing war on uni student poverty, we'll bring you the most swoon worthy recounts of our latest foodie adventures.

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