We're at the old Sebel Townhouse site, which used to be home to Simmone Logue (and her wonderful Brioche French Toast with Honeycomb Butter, whose loss I sadly mourn). We're waiting for two friends to join us for dinner. The draw card here is the chance to experience the cuisine of Chef Haru Inukai in a less formal bistro setting. If you don't know who he is, among his many claims to fame, Inukai has cooked alongside Iron Chef Hiroyuki Sakai at his old haunt Galileo, and worked under the famed Joël Robuchon.
We opted for the eight course Degustation Menu ($75) which is a great way to sample the menu, so do remember that despite me indicating the menu prices for the full sized dishes, the photos you are seeing are of the degustation portions. First up is the Sashimi style Scampi with vinaigrette Japonaise ($22) and it was nice, but I personally prefer my scampi delicately cooked rather than raw.
Don’t miss the delicately seared ‘Aburi’ Ocean Trout ($17) with spinach and white sesame sauce - it was easily my favourite dish. By the way, the cuisine here is French/Japanese fusion.
The next dish, the Pork Rillettes with toasted walnut bread ($15) was also lovely, and obviously quite labour intensive.
Next up was a nicely done Soup of the Day ($12) - in this case it was a chilled carrot and cumin soup.
The gorgeous hand-made Fettuccine alla Carbonara ($22) with raw egg sauce is my pick of the pastas. The pasta itself is al dente, the sauce is rich and eggy, and it goes down a treat.
Of the mains I found the Fish of the Day ($26), pan-roasted Moonfish to be both flavoursome and texturally interesting but I wasn’t fussed on the accompanying sautéed vegetables and ginger infused tomato sauce.
I wasn't very enamoured with the Ragoût of Lamb ($27) with crumbed zucchini and curry aroma.
The degustation dessert is the pleasant 'Peach, Peach, Peach' ($15) - a trio of peachy pleasures including a peach jelly, peach sorbet and a poached white peach
But if they give you the option as they did with our lucky table as the restaurant was emptying out by the time we got to this course, then leap to include the light, fluffy Coconut Soufflé ($14) with mango sorbet instead!
One of the most pleasant surprises was finding a great, easy drinking Spanish import, the 2007 Torres Vina Esmeralda Moscatel/Gewürztraminer ($28) for under thirty dollars. Chef Inukai works the floor frequently too, which is nice to see.
Shop 1, 21 Elizabeth Bay Road, Elizabeth Bay
Ph: (02) 9360 3555