Monday, October 01, 2007

ARIA, Macquarie St, Circular Quay

ARIA, Macquarie St, Circular Quay

Monday 1 October, 2007

Tonight, the celebrations continued. We had tickets to see Josh Grobin and were looking for a pre-theatre restaurant. Surprisingly, most of the restaurants surrounding the Opera House were closed - on a long weekend???? Surely, the tourist dollar would have been out in force? Anyway, I tried 3 restaurants before finding out that ARIA was open - thank god.

ARIA offer a wonderful pre-theatre menu that is well priced for a highly awarded restaurant that commands one of the best views in Sydney. Between 5.30 - 7pm each night they offer one course for $40, two courses for $65 and three courses for $80. The entrees are listed as:

PACIFIC OYSTERS - six, freshly shucked with mignonette dressing
CONSOMME - peking duck consommé with duck dumplings, shaved abalone and
GOATCURD - cigar of goat curd with a salad of pickled beetroot, apple and hazelnuts
SCALLOPS - pan fried with a sweet corn puree, cauliflower beignet and a caper and
sultana dressing
HIRAMASA KINGFISH - tartare with crème fraiche and buckwheat blinis
KUROBUTA SWEET PORK BELLY - double cooked and served with pear salad with cider dressing.

The mains offered are:

FENNEL - pot roasted, with globe artichoke, borlotti beans and green olives
YELLOW BELLIED FLOUNDER - roasted on the bone, polenta agnolotti and beurre noisette
JEWFISH - crisp skin fillet with calamari and garlic pippies
GLENLOTH CHICKEN BREAST - roasted with gnocchi, treviso, mushrooms and jus gras
VEAL - blanquette of veal with green asparagus, braised morels and celery hearts
BEEF - chargrilled scotch fillet with a gratin of potato, sautéed mushrooms and
Montpellier butter

How do you decide between these????? After several read throughs of the menu I couldn't go past the Hiramisa Kingfish for entree and the Beef for main while my dinner buddy opted for the Scallops for entree and Jewfish for main. After we ordered a complimentary starter arrived - a vegetable consomme with croutons and also freshly baked bread rolls - soy & linseed or white with fresh butter.

The staff at ARIA are impeccable - they are discreet and move effortlessly around the floor keeping track of each guest - glasses are never left unfilled and plates are cleared promptly. It's wonderful to experience great service - more Sydney restaurants could learn a thing or two from this crew.

Our meals were lovely and light and as we had come early we had more then enough time to order dessert. The kingfish was beautifully prepared and just melted in your mouth with a generous serve of creme fraiche. The beef was cooked to order and perfectly matched with the gratin & mushrooms.

As we pondered dessert you couldn't help but admire the spectacular view of the Harbour Bridge and Opera House. This really is one of the most stunning views of Sydney. I ordered the CHOCOLATE - chocolate mousse, raspberries, hazelnuts, vanilla ice cream and my dinner buddy ordered the ICECREAM - Pedro Ximenez ice cream, marinated raisins, blood orange.

ARIA is an experience.

ARIA - 1 Macquarie St East Circular Quay - (02) 9252 2555


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