Thursday, December 22, 2011

Dinner at Aria

My Englishman and I at Aria

It was my birthday over the weekend – one of the big “0” birthdays. As has become a bit of a tradition for my Englishman and I, dinner at a fancy restaurant was on the cards. The Englishman had booked 6 months ago and had not told me where we were going. I found out on my birthday morning when I opened one of my presents and found a Matt Moran cook book “Dinner at Matts”. I knew straight away what that meant – we were going to Aria for dinner!!!!

So on Monday night, we both got dressed up to the nines and caught a taxi to Opera Bar. The weather was abominable but there were still a lot of people about, being so close to Christmas. We had a drink at Opera Bar – a beer for the Engilshman and a ‘Twisted Collins’ (fig and pear flavour) for me – and looked out at the dreary scenery. Then, up to Aria for dinner! We chose to have the Seasonal Tasting Menu with matching wines as this gave us a chance to try a few different dishes in small doses and really get a feel for the food.

The food was overall, delicious. It was well cooked, well seasoned and beautifully presented. Some of the dishes were served on black stone instead of traditional white crockery, which fitted with the dishes. What appeared to be a 7 course menu however was really a 10 course menu! With 2 appetisers (one at the very beginning and one between the mains and dessert) and petit fours with coffee, it was a LOT of food. Plus matching wines which couldn’t go to waste!

We had a number of different people look after us throughout our evening. The gentleman who took our order, got our cutlery (and brought more at ‘half time!’) and took our photo was friendly, had a sense of humour but remained very professional. The woman who mainly served our dishes and explained them was a little dry and humourless and almost looked like she wasn’t interested in her job. The sommelier who served our wines however, was fantastic. Knowledgeable, but not reading from a script, she gave us lots of information and really explained why each wine had been chosen to match each dish. This was great as a few of the wines seemed like an unusual match until the sommelier explained and we then tasted. Then, they made sense.

We had great seats in the restaurant – right at the window with an unobstructed view of the Opera House. It was perfect for people watching! The restaurant was a little noisy however – it was very busy although there were a few empty tables, and the air con above my seat was a tad too cold.

Neither of us was impressed with the toilet facilities. There was nothing wrong with them per se, however they were pretty standard and without any of the trimmings you would expect in such a high end restaurant. They really just had lots of clean hand towels, but that was it.

This was my dessert - just a bit of Birthday 'specialness'!!

If you’d like to see what we ate and what I thought of it, check out my website, Monstercake, for a run down of the menu and my ‘review’.

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