Brent Savage’s cooking at this restaurant is a well-documented treat, so when I finally rewarded myself with a Degustation ($120/head) I delineated it as a night off.
Of course that was until I ate the Balmain Bug with Lamb Sweetbread, Black Bean and Coconut Curd ($28), which employed lobster on the evening in question, but that’s beside the point. You see it’s not often you can write: ‘The sweetbreads were so tasty, everyone gobbled them up!’ and have people believe it; but believe me you should - it’s a monumentally great dish.
The Fillet of Black Angus Beef ($40) was also a goodie; though I won’t be jumping on the azuki bean puree bandwagon any time soon.
I was also quite a fan of the Pickled Garfish with Cracked Wheat, Celery Emulsion and Walnuts (which only appears on the degustation menu).
Booze, as expected, was also a highlight, with the best-balanced Long Island Iced Tea ($18) I’ve had in years. (Yeah, yeah, what part of night off didn’t you understand?) For the more moderately inclined, the 2009 Pazo Senorans Albarino ($74) drinks well too.
This is the Jamon Poached Tuna with Khol Rabi, Squid Ink and Black Sausage Crumbs ($26) - remember the prices here relate to full a la carte portions, these are all degustation portions.
This is the Pork Belly with Wattle, Garlic Milk and Rhubarb ($26).
I was also treated to a series of great desserts: my favourite being...
...a nutty ode to the Cashew ($18) featuring an airy brick of sponge, a brightly coloured scattering of petals and powders, and the requisite perfectly-shaped quenelle defying gravity up top.
But I tried everything from Passionfruit Ice Cream with Goats Cheese, Violet & Buckwheat Praline (the airy goats' cheese was the highlight)...
...to a suitably autumnal Mandarin & Chocolate Liquorice Log ($18).
Overly close tables make one thankful for friendly neighbours (we had a few especially comedic escapes to the bathrooms) and smooth staff. Expect all staff to be young, frightfully hip and easily able to make good wine recommendations.
Bentley Restaurant & Bar
320 Crown Street, Surry Hills
Ph: (02) 9332 2344