This article originally appeared in the November 2015 issue: Hosting the Holidays. Read it here!
Is that the dining-in-the-dark place? Yes, you can do that here, but it’s not (in our opinion) their biggest selling point – instead, it’s their excellent food and cool, understated interiors.
The place: You enter into an apothecary-like entrance with glass laboratory equipment and chic black-and-white chequerboard floors, then pass into a cool wooden-floored area with large glass windows that pull in the light with minimal gloss. Colourful art dots the walls, but mostly the furnishings are simple, comfortable and cool. The former nightclub does have a downstairs dining-in-the-dark option, where you can sample the menu in complete blackness to heighten your other senses (and make an absolute mess of your outfit) and have an interesting evening of food exploration. But we’d much rather spend an afternoon in the cosy confines of the well-lit main floor and see (and photograph) everything we’re eating.
The food: Quite simply delicious. We have to say we were somewhat sceptical of the description of Japanese-inspired tapas prepared by French chef Pascal Breant, but forget the convoluted portrayal – it’s wonderful. It’s true there are large sharing plates, and it’s also true that the chef was inspired by high-end Japanese omakase meals, but the combination really works. Start with a refreshing hit of chilled oysters before moving on to homemade smoked salmon curls served on a square of beetroot for a surprisingly complementary taste sensation, as well as cubes of flavoursome tuna and delicate carvings of octopus carpaccio served with a salsa of pickles and asparagus. Prawn ravioli arrived with a little quail egg served sunny side up for a beautiful dish in both flavour and appearance, and then came the seared yellow cod decorated with soft pillows of artichoke mash on top, with the final savoury item a Black Angus steak chargrilled to perfection, topped with crunchy green beans and accompanied by roast potatoes. The dessert dish was a real crowd-pleaser, one of those dishes that draws oohs and aahs from the table, a giant chocolate globe with an accompanying hot chocolate sauce that melted the sphere to reveal a fudge cake with vanilla gelato at its caldera centre. The menu will change weekly depending on the seasonal ingredients Chef Breant can get his hands on, and we’d be excited to try his next creative offering.
The price: Extremely reasonable at $288 per person for eight courses, with the option of free-flow champagne for an additional charge. The brunch begins at 11:30am and runs until 5pm on the weekends.
16 Arbuthnot Road, Central, 6821 2801