Petit Fours: a Sydney food blog


Petit Fours: a Sydney food blog


Petit Fours: a Sydney food blog

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Bentley Restaurant and Bar, Surry Hills

Who knows what kind of Blumenthal wizz bangery lies behind the kitchens of Bentley? At least that's what I'm thinking when I walked into one of the rare restaurants in Sydney known for molecular gastronomy. I'm often fearful of this sub-strand of food. Sub-strand... sounds like it belongs more in a science book than a restaurant. Food should be food and there shouldn't be too much messing around with quality ingredients. But there is that element of whimsicality that just seems so exciting to pass up and hey, I'm willing to try anything.

Outside, it looks like any other unassuming bar but inside... the restaurant is really something else. Dark and sophisticatedly mysterious with plush sofas, nature art, golden mesh lamps and wooden fit outs left, right and centre and you've stepped into a hip restaurant of the 21st century.

We begin with bread from Iggy's; a tad too charred but scrumptiously chewy.

with Pickled Carrot and Cocoa 

Who would of known carrots, chocolate and foie gras to be such a good combination? The bitter cocoa goes marvellously well with the rich and fatty parfait. I love the fact that it was just so dense with the tartness of the carrots really enriching the flavour. 

with Broccolini, Nettle, Turnip and Nameko 

I really liked the plating of this. Rolls of deliciously tender pink duck are hidden within a green garden of brocollini and baby turnips. Soy and nettle puree very much pervaded the flavours of the duck enhancing it's deliciousness but the real hero for this dish were those nameko mushrooms being so jam packed full of earthiness. The duck was a tad bit tough though.

The 4 Courses of Sweets for $40 was a cracker of a deal and were too good to pass up. Quinnels all round.

with Geranium & Fresh Fruit
I've had Sorrel sorbet before and I didn't enjoy it too much then. My opinion hasn't changed much now but what really did win me over was the geranium snow and dehydrated raspberries. Dehydrating the raspberries results them becoming all crisp and also concentrates their fruitiness which is delightful.

with Violet, Buckwheat Praline & Passion fruit Ice Cream

Hand in the background courtesy of D. Thank you very much. This is the sort of food I'd like in a 'progressive' restaurant. The mousse was indescribable, not icy at all but not creamy in the sense that it is melting. You must eat it for yourself to see. The dish basically sings passion fruit flavour and was such a joy to eat texturally.

with Coffee, Red Currant, Marco Polo & Fig Leaf Ice Cream

I'm a bit more iffy about this dish because the chocolate custard didn't really hit it for me flavour wise. Overall, the conglomerate of flavours made the dish feel very... disjointed. The beautiful figs and fig ice cream were delicious though.

with Sesame Meringue, Nougat & Apricot Sorbet
This dish didn't feel as disjointed but it did seem like multiple desserts were packed into one. Flavours work very well together but there wasn't anything here that particularly stood out as the hero flavour. Nevertheless it was satisfying seeing the work behind this through savouring each component separately.

Gimmicks shouldn't come at the cost of taste and for the most part, Bentley does food with aplomb and brilliance. Mid afternoons are the best time to get there, with barely a person in sight although service can almost come to a standstill, however soothingly so. The rare dish can often become a haphazard of confusion in flavour but they are always thoughtful and intriguing from start to finish. There's such a respect for presentation and texture combined with a progressive creativity that's almost unseen these days. I hear the wine here is as adventurous as the food is. I would not hesitate to go back there again for their tasting menu save for the fact that the only thing stopping me is the 20 minute walk up the mountain that is Foveaux St.

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what beautiful presentation! the parfait looks incredible but omg the desserts! yum!

Yeah I know! Everything is so vividly colourful. $40 for 4 courses of desserts is pretty good!

truly the presentation is very great and for that I love to see that place and bring some friends to come with me.

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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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