November 17th, 2008

Does My Bomb Look Big In This?

Review - Astral *UPDATED*

If you like fine dining and you happen to be a vegetarian, Astral is definitely a restaurant you should consider checking out. I found myself back in Sean Connolly’s classy domain (which boasts one of the best Sydney skyline views around) to impress a visiting vegetarian with the Vegetarian Tasting Menu ($125/head, $85 additional for matched wines). What I didn’t expect was to enjoy this menu as much as my guest!



We began with a amuse bouche - a nice onion flavoured take on a Yorkshire Pudding.



Connolly really creates a depth of flavour that is often absent in vegetarian cuisine.



His 62 Degree Hen’s Egg with shaved Western Australian truffles was a memorable moment.



The 'Nicoise' Salad did come with a 'smear' which is not exactly my favourite bit of plating, but the flavours were good.



The Sauteed Wild Mushrooms would normally be my favourite sort of dish (loving mushrooms, gnocchi and asparagus as I do) but they didn't quite rise to my expectations.



The Beetroot ‘Fregola’ presented as a garden of flowers, lumps of creamy Capparis Goat Cheese and red radish slices on a vivid purplish bed of pellet-shaped pasta, was a firm favourite.



After the smoking Rockmelon Soup pre-dessert, I was again swayed by the Cheese Course ($15 upgrade), and was not disappointed, adding three new international (and well ripened) cheeses to my collection of cheese memories. Their cheese trolley is well-worth checking out, even just for the entertainment of seeing the staff struggle to remember and describe sixteen international cheeses.



Dessert was a bright and pleasantly light finish – Rhubarb Sorbet with ginger and orange jelly, mandarin olive oil sponge and a smear of decadent vanilla cream. The wine list has nudged up a shade in price, but you do get a wide range of excellent choices – the 2003 Valminor Albarino ($75/bottle) from Rias Baixas in Spain delighted.

Omnivorous companions can simultaneously enjoy a more widely ranging degustation, the Astral Tasting Menu, for the same price. I last enjoyed it in February 2008 (check out my comments on that HERE). I also talk more about the wonderful set and setting in that review. The staff were again discreet, professional, courteous and informed about the menu and wine list.

Astral
Level 17, 80 Pyrmont Street, Pyrmont
Ph: (1800) 700 700

Astral on Urbanspoon