ADDRESS: 204 Clarence Street
PHONE: (02) 9283 1922
OPENING: Lunch- Mon- Fri. Dinner Mon-Sat
LEVEL OF CASHOLA REQUIRED: $$$
CUISINE: Modern British
1 word sums up my experience- AMAZING!.
Lock in those dancing monkeys!
THE “PEOPLES VERDICT”
No surprise- All the reviews say this restaurant kicks butt!
IT’S REVIEW TIME!
I think I can confidently say this is the best restaurant I have been to in the 10 years I have lived in Sydney. Already I am trying to come up with ways to go back again next month.
Chefs Adam and Lovaine Humphrey have done a fantastic job with Arras which has recently moved from Walsh Bay to just behind the QVB. They offer 10 course degustation menu (with an extra optional course of cheese) for $140 (compared to many high end restaurant is quite cheap). The service was faultless, food amazing and the experience one to remember.
Ultimately I chose the degustation over the four course a la carte ($120). The main reason driving this was to ensure I got to try the petits four which Arras is well known for.
The room is very spacious, and the light is left on so you can actually see and appreciate the fine food they grace you with.
The appetiser started the night off on a good note. How I love the idea of putting more calories in cheese by means of deep frying. Mr FYF who normally isn’t a fan of mackerel was pleasantly surprised with the mackerel rillette.
The first course was the Amuse Bouche, which was plated so well I was afraid to ruin the piece of art with my fork. Thankfully I over came this, as the prawns were delicious and worked well with cucumber and olives.
Ahh, one of my favourite reasons for eating out (beside desserts) is homemade bread. There were a couple of options, which all looked like mini loaves. I was proud of myself to say yes to only one piece (plus 1/2 of Mr FYF – but who’s counting?). I did regret indulging in the bread by the 6th course when it looked like I had a baby bump. The butter which accompanied was homemade and soft enough to spread easily.
Next to tantalise our tastebuds was their take on san choy bow using Atlantic crab. It was balanced perfectly and the lettuce cup looked like it was moulded into a perfect cup.
The next course made me giggle as Mr FYF said ‘I never knew a salad could be so tasty’. The Garden had a tangy dressing (no doubt lemon based) that cut through the bitter rocket quite well.
I was bit worried at this point as we hadn’t even gotten through 1/2 of the courses. Each dish was quite filling, and so delicious. The tuna was the next course, which was perfectly cooked, but the clear winner in this dish was the smoked egg.
Pork belly seems to be on every menu these days but I’m not complaining. Arras does a sensational version that includes an amazing crackling (the curl on top) and pork chip. The gravy was infused with apple cider that helped to cut through the richness of the pork. The jelly that was decorated on the plate had us guessing the ingredients until we asked the waiter who told us it was; Apple and spiced beetroot.
As I am not a fan of scallops (gasp!), Arras was happy to alter the menu with no dramas, so instead of the black and white squid I was given the Mushrooms done 3 ways. I love the idea of using one ingredient and presenting it different ways. I was first introduced to this at The Press Club, and haven’t experienced this at many other restaurants. Mushroom was a product of their choice which they did; dehydrated, consommé and sautéed. The mushroom consommé is one of the best I have tried and I was very upset when I had eaten (or is it drink?) it all and the plate didn’t refill itself.
Mr FYF was very impressed with his squid dish, stating they were the best cooked scallops he had ever tried (big call!)
At this point I was trying to find a small fault or flaw. I was unsuccessful; the only thing I could come up with was how filling the dishes were – not necessarily a bad thing of course.
The lamb was the next dish which was served medium, with black pudding on the side. I have tried many times to enjoy black pudding, but unfortunately still today I am unable to appreciate its flavour.
The view from my chair was right at the cheese trolley. It had been teasing me all night, and even though I was getting pretty full at this point I couldn’t say no.
We decided to share the cheese plate and chose Goats milk from Australia (which looked very ripe), Blue cheese from France (a milder flavour for blue cheese) and sheep’s milk from Spain. The accompaniments that came with the cheese could of been mistaken a feast for at least 5 pax. We had 3 relishes, lavosh in various flavours and some wholemeal cakes. I would recommend this option as you will get to taste their fantastic beetroot relish and dips.
Thankfully dessert arrived next (signally the end of the courses). The Cinematic soufflé was a fun take on popcorn. The soufflé was cooked perfectly in a small copper saucepan, and the caramel sauce went brilliantly.
The Branylus vinegar ice-cream, black salt fougasse was a perfect dish to finish with, as it wasn’t too sweet and even included a vegetable (chip). The ice cream was a perfect balance of flavours, and strangely didn’t make everything soggy.
Finally the best bit! The Petite Fours- the drawing card for coming. A persplex stand was given to us with various size holes to help hold some of the treats in place. By this time I was about to burst at the seams, but managed a couple, well maybe a few more than a couple. I don’t think I appreciated each individual sweet as I should seeing I was so full and nearly had be rolled out.
THE LOCALE, DECOR AND VIBE:
You sense a slight nautical theme when entering. Each piece of furniture is a statement, even a luxury (the candle holders are done by Georg Jenson)
LETS TALK PEOPLE POWER:
5 star service including plates delivered at the same time. Each time you got up, there would be a waiter there holding you chair out. When confused by the comprehensive wine list, staff were knowledgeable and helped to point me in right direction and choosing a fantastic Italian wine.
NOM NOM NOM:
The Pork (and crackling)
WOULD I TAKE THE CHEF HOME (IF POLYGAMY WAS LEGAL?)
ummmmm, I feel I can’t write my answer as I don’t think my husband would appreciate it.
um just one……. the desserts!
Still thinking, I don’t think I will ever come up with one
Appetizer: Fried cheese rounds and quenelle of mackerel roulette
1st course: Amuse Bouche (sliced cucumber, dehydrated olives, small prawns, soy and chorizo)
2nd Course: Spiced and dressed crab in a lettuce with soy beans
3rd course: The Garden (pickled marinated vegetables, slow cooked onions and bitter leaves)
4th Course: Cooked tuna, smoked eggs, green beans and potato
5th course: milk-cooked Pork belly, whey puree and cracklings
6th Course: 3 way Mushroom or black and white squid with sweetbreads, Jerusalem artichoke crisps and scallops
7th Course: lamb rump ‘bruised shoulders’, black pudding and curd
8th Optional Cheese Course: Cheese Trolley. Blue Cheese (France) Sheep’s Milk (Spain) & Goats Milk (Australia)
9th Course: Cinematic Soufflé “the sequel”
10th Course– Branylus vinegar ice-cream, black salt fougasse
11th Course- Petit Fours