In Sydney I believe the perfect lunch is including a spectacular view. So I did a little research and TA DA I was on my way to ARIA. For lunch I believe Matt Moran and his team has created very elegant dishes to match the atmosphere. One thing I already liked about this restaurant is the fact it’s a set price menu for example $46 for one course, $74 for two course and $89 for three courses. Off course I went all out and decided to choose THREE COURSE!
An intense and fruity little appetiser of fresh fig purée tart hits the table first, tasting sweet and gorgeously presented. There was a distinctively sharp taste of goat’s curd and my taste buds on the tongue could also detect the buttery flavour coming from the tart shell itself. I loved the crumbly biscuit from the tart base, it almost had a pie crust texture, ALMOST.
Goat’s Curd and Fig Purée tart
Soon after our delicious start, a lovely waiter walks to our table and offers a selection of the highest quality breads matched with seaweed and original butter. I opted for a warm thick slice of sourdough containing walnuts. Let me tell you I felt 100% guilty enjoying the whole slice of sourdough alone with a few smears of seaweed butter. The edges of the bread was indeed solid like a rock and as for the the spongy middle section it offered a tangy taste that can vary form barely perceptible to slightly sour. As for the seaweed butter, MY GOODNESS I have never encountered such a meeting like this before. It’s not your classic butter you have at home, it’s TOP NOTCH BUTTER that delivers a divine sweet yet salty, mellow flavour that is absolutely delicious with any selection of breads you prefer.
Sour Dough matched with Seaweed and Original Butter
By now we were starting to suffer the effects of butter madness and we had to quickly forget about it and move onto our first course. These beautiful shelled pacific oysters was disturbingly presented well like a little “nihon teien” translate to Japanese-style garden with the ice plants looking similar to moss garden, oysters looking similar to rocks and the blackberries reminded me of bushes. The raw oysters were meaty, strong flavoured and had a silky fresh plumpness to it. That oyster juice with the blend of the other ingredients on the plate was precious and tasted insanely good that it was unacceptable to rinse it off.
Shelled Pacific Oysters
Another option from the first course also included the pressed rabbit and chorizo terrine with romesco sauce and a piece of focaccia. This dish was absolutely interesting because rabbits are not usually on the menu so fancy lunch indeed. The terrine had a summer theme to it with the colours and garnish. I was impressed by the texture as it provided a jello feel to it with the added chunks of meat and spice from the chorizo which left a meaty package into my mouth.
Pressed Rabbit and Chorizo Terrine
Side view is always better 😛
For the FRIED focaccia it left me speechless!!! It was nice, soft and crispy in the first bite that I couldn’t control myself having the whole darn thing. OH DEAR! I don’t think I can stick to “sharing is caring”. Teehee.
Have you tried Deep Fried Focaccia before?
I was lucky enough to catch a steamed bass grouper on my plate with spanner crab, Coorong pipis and smoked dulse. The snow white fillet was incredibly smooth with large flakes and it was tender, moist and had a mild flavour to it. The texture and consistency are similar to a swordfish. The creamy dressing and fish complimented each other because I had a cheeky grin after devouring this.
Steamed Bass Grouper
Another main dish you MUST order is ARIA’s roasted holmbrae duck breasts with golden beetroots, elderflower and chamomile. I went BALLISTIC having my very first bite. I went cray cray when the duck vanished into thin air. At the time of the disappearance of the duck I wished I could be a super slower eater because that duck was DUCKING GOOD, excuse the language.
Roasted Holmbrae Duck
What made it extremely a highlighting dish was not only the rich, strong flavour of the duck and the elderflower and not so the chamomile but it was the glossy golden layer atop of the duck which appeared to be a long strip sugar coat. It had a crackle noise and sounded like a wonderful orchestra.
Just can’t stop sharing inwards shot.
Very lucky to sit window seat and it’s Sydney Harbour Bridge, well half of it.
Moving onto DESSERTS but the only problem for us was deciding on which one to fulfil our dessert stomach’s cravings. Being indecisive our helpful waiter suggested the very popular mango and passionfruit soufflé. After a 20 minute wait ta-da the soufflé appears at our table looking all seductive with a scoop of roasted rice ice-cream and dusted icing. Look at that signature height of the soufflé, it was unbelievably 4-5cms tall. The dessert is served hot and oozing with goodness.
Mango and Passionfruit Soufflé
DEATH BY CHOCOLATE was the valrhona chocolate ganache– It was certainly eye catching to the point it could be displayed at a art gallery or maybe a museum. It was a very sophisticated dessert with cherries, cherry sorbet, warm chocolate doughnuts and hazelnut. I was seriously and I mean SERIOUSLY HYPNOTISED by the many many looks of this dessert.
Valrhona Chocolate Ganache
From a side angle it feels like this must be a new dessert. The valrhona chocolate ganache was super rich and smooth to the point I could just lick the extras on the plate. Cherries and cherry sorbet married so well together that their wasn’t a hint of sourness. As for the chocolate doughnuts and hazelnut I lost my sh!ts. Teehee.
It’s too pretty to eat this!!! BUT Oh well…nom nom nom
Smashed the dessert into pieces… 😀
WAIT there’s MORE DESSERT!!! What…more dessert? YES MORE DESSERT. Does this get any better?!?!
By now I felt like I was about to give birth to a food baby. The waiter walks straight towards our table with this gorgeously presented petit fours that I couldn’t decline such an opportunity to stuff my face with sweets. They were only a bite-size…
Complimentary Petit Fours (Normally $9.50 with tea or coffee)
Just one more bite…
After an indulgent lunch you may want to act like a tourist and take a glimpse of the Opera House and Harbour Bridge. It would be wrong not to walk around.
Needed to stretch my legs after a luxury lunch experience at ARIA.
ARIA is certainly a luxurious lunch and so it does require you to put a side some time for you to really enjoy it. For $89 for 3 course I certainly loved each dish as I can really see the effort they put in with presentation and flavour. Goodness I can’t stop thinking about the dessert. Make sure when you book to request for WINDOW SEAT, you won’t be disappointed. Overall I give this place a two thumbs up. I look forward to returning and testing their degustation at night.
See you again ARIA’s.
Photos by Vanny Tang
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