As I mentioned last week, I was lucky enough to join the food media glitterati at the luxurious launch of Restaurant Arras. Most savvy chefs would do a soft launch the night before a media do, but construction delays meant for poor Adam and Lovaine Humphrey, this high pressure night was their first night cooking for guests in their fancy new digs!
Sipping on a 1999 Pol Roger Sir Winston Churchill I took in the clever recreation of a space that even the designer (Liz Boyd of Colourmark Design) refers to as a “white box”. It’s definitely an improvement from the formality of the old Becasse.
Despite my love of bread, usually with reviewing I try to limit myself to ensure I can fit in three courses. I would however urge you to go to town on the bread here. They're making it all themselves. I tried a straight sourdough and the Happy Goblin Beer bread which scrubbed up even better.
We started with a pretty amuse bouche involving beetroot (it seems to be the ingredient of the 2011 Sydney spring).
Our first dish was an interesting take on a Tomato and Onion Salad. You'll find Adam and Lovaine to be cooking a more expansive selection of modern European dishes here, as they found the mod. British brief a little limiting.
Our fish course was Bonito, Dried Tuna with Courgette and Aubergine. I enjoyed it over witty repartee with Rachel Olding, SMH's bar hop about her article Do you know what your daughter’s doing tonight? Of course I let slip that it caused me consternation as a feminist because there was no discussion of what the male peers were doing. She took my critique with good humour, and I enjoyed hearing where the article came from. She's done very well to have a regular section in Good Living and published articles by age 24, definitely a journalist to watch in the future. She's also an intern success story - so it must be said that being an intern can still lead to a successful career.
I was most taken with the Roast Junee lamb with Spring Vegetables, mostly for the lollipop of lamb cutlet left on the bone - finger lickin’ good! Consistently lamb from Junee scrubs up well for me. When I asked Adam why he chose it, he told me he likes a sporting link in all dishes, and Laurie Daley was born in Junee.
The Pistachio and Pineau Trifle was lighter than it looks, which is lucky, because you really need to save some room for the big finale...
The splashes of colour in the décor including an Az One graffiti wall are replicated in the eye-grabbing, candy-catching palettes that diners fill with petit fours from their truly ridiculous range! My selection included honeycomb, a little rhubarb cake, a pumpkin candy coated in chocolate, and a vivid blue-green mint lollypop. As a consequence, I went buzzing forth into the night on a total sugar high... the lamb lollipop was still my favourite though.
204 Clarence Street, Sydney
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