It’s a rainy Friday and my sister, Stinky, and I are ready for another Let’s Do Lunch special, this time at Circular Quay’s Aria.
It’s the first time I’ve ever eaten at Aria and there’s definitely a subdued atmosphere when you walk into the establishment.
The view from my seat reveals a chunk of the Harbour Bridge and the walkway along Bennelong Point to the Opera House. Stinky just can't get over how many joggers there are, even in the rain.
Lunch starts with a little amuse bouche from the chef. Merci.
Gazpacho has the elegant flavour of roasted tomatoes, and a touch of sherry? Topped with chive oil. A great start.
After perusing the al a carte menu we can’t help ourselves and have to order an intriguing entree of goose. It comes fast.
|cured goose breast with chicken liver parfait, poached rhubarb, black pepper and ginger bread $30|
Thin slices of cured goose are delicate and sweet and the crispy rolled wafer is stuffed with intensely flavour liver parfait. The poached rhubarb is firm and tart, a perfect refreshing balance to the parfait and goose. Tiny bright sauce blobs seem to be the jellied poaching liquid from the rhubarb, strongly flavoured black pepper. A smear of gingerbread cream is delicious, but is superfluous according to Stinky.
Overall, amazingly delicious.
|roasted barramundi with crab and pea risotto $35|
The Let’s Do Lunch special is served quickly: crispy skinned delicately flavoured barramundi on a pool of pea risotto, flecked with crab flesh and brightened with pretty sweet pea shoots. The rice is toothsome and creamy, and while the peas provide a light spring flavour I can’t really taste the crab. That doesn’t really bother me because the fish has such an unexpectedly fresh sea flavour. I enjoy this dish more than I thought I would.
Brown Brothers are the Let’s Do Lunch special and Aria serves this dish with a glass of their 2009 Limited Release Savagnin.
They offer us dessert and we can’t say no. Unfortunately, since they’re eager to get us out the door for the next seating, our piccolo lattes and petit fours arrive before our dessert. Hmm.
Our petit fours are really petit threes: nutty nougat with cranberry, caramel and peanut truffles and the most divine square of lamington with coffee cream.
But the rush is forgiven when the dessert arrives. Its description was unusual and so is its appearance. A pointy cone of pineapple sorbet sits on top of gently flavoured star anise ice cream and then something that seems like thin coconut cake. Wrapped around it is sticky meringue and pooled around the base is pineapple juice, sago and pieces of white lychee flesh.
“It tastes like a candy shop!” Stinky declares after her first bite.
It sounds stupid, but she’s right.
|star anise and pineapple sorbet ‘bombe’ with roasted pineapple consommé $20|
The light, airy pineapple sorbet reminds me of Wizz Fizz, the star anise is like liquorice allsorts and the light base has a coconut finish. The meringue is just like a toasted marshmallow.
It’s sweet, but not in a bad way.
I adore it, but Stinky doesn’t seem that impressed.
We pay the bill and get out of the way of the new crowd being hustled into the restaurant.
Wonderful food and professional service, but perhaps better to return when we can relax and enjoy it a little bit more.