I had so much to say about this restaurant, I struggled to condense it into a short review - suffice to say, I really liked this restaurant, and I hope to see it get a hat for its trouble soon. One of the things I really liked was the original (made for the restaurant) graphic art by designer Mark Stott.
This two year old restaurant provides a stellar experience down to the little touches (like L’Occitane products in the bathroom) and a million dollar view. There’s a designer element to the warm, intimate space. There is a banquette running down one side of the space, and a stucco wall that gives it texture, plus mirrors that open it up, and break up the lines and symmetry. I liked the lights which looked like glass valves, and the low, warm level of lighting in the space.
Start with a signature Peach Bellini ($16) which came complete with a touch of molecular gastronomy - as you drank it, you were surrounded by the intense aroma of orange peel.
It's probably a tad par for the course, but the amuse bouche was a pumpkin soup (I only say that because recently Restaurant Sojourn and The Balmain Bug both did similar soups as their amuse bouche). Ignore me - I'm just jaded - the soup with toasted pumpkin seeds was lovely.
We started with something from their specials board - a plate of carefully selected Coffin Bay Pacific Oysters ($18/ half dozen), which are CLEARLY shucked to order, and delivered fresh daily. They were excellent, and presented with a muslin wrapped lemon, and a red wine and eschallot dressing passed separately.
Their menu allows you to create your own combination from a list of small plates ($4-$13), entrees ($16-20) and mains ($27-$32). Though they have great small plates, I recommend skipping to the entrees. We did try one small plate, which was a Salad of Wild Rocket, Corella Pear, Fennel and Shaved Parmesan ($8) as an accompaniment to the main, and it was a very nice salad.
From the entrees, I liked the a trio of Seared Sea Scallops ($20) presented three ways with pea puree, pork belly, and most interestingly with chicken confit, the best. Plating was beautiful, perhaps the three ways should have related more to each other to reach perfection, but overall I liked the dish.
The Jamon Iberico with Figs and Leaves ($18) had lovely jamon iberico and it went well with the figs. I thought the leaves were a bit redundant - not unpleasant, but they added nothing to the dish in my world where Jamon Iberico is a stand-alone sublime pleasure.
I enjoyed the perfectly al dente Wagyu Beef Cheek Angnolotti ($17), perhaps a tad more presence from the Taleggio might have been nice.
Save room for a main of Lamb Loin, Cutlet and Braised Breast ($32) – it’s a revelation with superbly cooked lamb, baby carrots, peas, potato fondant and wood ear! I loved the fungus with this dish, and it's certainly an innovative idea.
The small list of seven cheeses held surprises even for a cheese snob like me. I was DELIGHTED to see three cheeses that I hadn't tried, particularly the Artavaggio ($22/3 cheeses) which I have now sought out to purchase.
Service is warm and professional; and owner Steve Wales is particular informative about wine – I loved the blush pink 2007 Carlei Pinot Gris ($62) he recommended. The list is very much his own doing - it's not following trends, which I really liked. This is really a restaurant to check out.
70 a-b Campbell Parade, Bondi Beach
Ph: (02) 9300 8898