A few other Sydney bloggers or Chefs mentioned a few options for me to explore, and apparently there are some recent bargains to be found during lunch sessions at participating restaurants! That’s good news to me as I need a few budget meals to balance my budget. Initially I had booked for Marque (3 Hats) as I used to love the flavours of the food there, but their AUD$45 3 Courses menu didn’t seem to interest me much. A few people suggested Bentley (funny thing, I came and ate without ever checking the Good Food Guide . thoughts about this later) as an alternative and incidentally the chef here has worked in Marque a little before… at AUD$55 for 5 Courses this pre fixed lunch course is a good bargain indeed!
A cocktail of Square one Vodka, St Germain Elderflower, Lemon, Mint and Cucumber is as expected very refreshing and carries some of my favourite summery flavours. At $17 it’s a little expensive but I guess cocktails in Hong Kong are just too cheap to compare to…
Spark Plug -
A Chartreuse, Fresh Apple, Apple Liquor, Peychaud Bitters, Verjus drink. It’s a fun little drink because the apple and grape like flavour is spiked with that liquorice like flavour from charteuse and the Peychau bitters. Enjoyable.
#1 Octopus with Almond, Garlic and Basil -
Decent starter, the flavours worked and the octopus was cooked to tender…
Pumpkin Custard, with Millet Seed Crackers, Goats Curd and Toasted Pumpkin/Lin/Millet seeds -
This dish was already described to me by a foodie blogger friend, and when it arrived it certainly makes you smile! It is just fun to look at and eat. We thought the weakish pumpkin custard was a little too overpowered by the goat cheese, but the millet crackers acted like a nacho in this dish.
Poached Mulloway Fish, with Celeriac Slice, Cracked Wheat & Bean, Black Sesame puree-
This again wasn’t an out of this world dish in terms of ingredients but somehow it all worked together so well. I particularly lilked the cracked wheat the most, whilst the fish was moist and paired with the black sesame puree.
Pressed Lamb Shoulder, with Garlic Yoghurt, Wheatberry, Sprouts and Broadbean,
and Toasty grinded Wattleseed -
The wattleseed was toasty and with the garlic yoghurt worked with the lamb, which is rectangular and has been compressed together from meat strands. I thought the variety of ‘seeds’ scheme was becoming a bit repetitive by now, but no doubt this dish tasted good.
Strawberry Parfait of Normal and Frozen Textures, Macerated Strawberries, Slight Fizzy Strawberry Yoghurt Biscuit, with Sichuan, Lychee and Verjus Sorbet -
Really liked this dessert for its lightness and it was a needed refreshment after a big meal. Even having had so many great and very ambitious desserts over the past few days, this one just worked very well with me and I could eat this everyday!
Lovely Bar & Diner like Setting, Relaxed Casual -
As I’ve mentioned before, I don’t really plan ahead too much for my meals when I go travel except for those 1 or 2 important ones… I just really enjoy the serendipity of eating out without expectations and discovery along the way! Bentley was a lovely experience despite a few repetitive elements and this course was certainly a bargain and the dishes can be found on the main a la carte menu. In hindsight, just as I was about to blog about here I needed to look up a few details as usual and I was rather surprised that this has been awarded 2 Hatted Status by the SMH Good Food Guide since 2006. In 2010 the restaurant won the Australian Gourmet Pages "restaurant of the year" award. Knowing this now afterwards does throw spanner into the works, because my experience here was of a very casual yet fun lunch experience. But to me this is not quite up there as a 2 Hatted restaurant standard status yet, especially when compared to some of the other Hatted and Starred meals we’ve also shared to eat recently. Just because the food looks artistically pretty and it’s fun and engaging, does not mean this is of a 2Star/Hatted quality restaurant. It is a bit unfair to other restos out there in my opinion.
Price: AUD $55 per person Lunch
SMH Sydney Good Food Guide: 2 Hatted
Tuesday to Sunday for lunch and dinner
Address: 320 Crown Street, Darlinghurst, Surry Hills, Sydney, Australia
Ph: 02 9332 2344