Wednesday, September 19, 2012
Bambini Trust) and Michael Robinson (ex Quarter Twenty One) have teamed up to celebrate quality ingredients, cooked simply. The Oyster Bar offers over 30 Australian varieties delivered fresh daily from the growers, together with organic produce and free range grain fed beef. There's the Oyster Room, the Parlour and the Conservatory (open air terrace) so lots of areas to explore.
Once again we were on our way home from a city appointment, and having read great reviews, we decided to drop in to try it out. Never did make it past the main dining area, but would have liked to have seen the Conservatory. We did ask a waiter what was behind the doors, but he said 'just a bar' - being The Parlour. What about the Conservatory?
We couldn't resist a side of Grandma's Carrots which were served chunky and soft but just like Grandma would serve! Need I mention the thrice cooked Duck Fat Chips?
Good food, nice ambience, efficient service.
Through the bar is the Brasserie - and what a wonderful space. Pineapple lamps line the banquettes which divide the room into smaller spaces, and the clever use of mirrors, some painted, make the space look even bigger. The private dining room on the left has an open verandah on the side which looks over the courtyard of The Argyle (nice spot for lunch).
It's described as French Mediterranean. The Chef is French born Jerome Lagarde, who came from the Three Star Sens & Bund in Shanghai.
Unfortunately I didn't photograph our dishes - wish I had because they looked as good as they tasted. The hardest thing was the choice. Hal had the Alaskan Crab and Avocado, which was fresh and delicious. I took our waiter's recommendation and had the 65 degrees Free Range Egg on Bed of Smoked Cream, Asparagus, Sauteed Porcini, Bellota-Bellota (a rolled piece of superb ham). How on earth do you cook a very soft boiled egg, shell it, then coat with a crunchy crumb mixture? The smoked cream was a fabulous taste. It also came with two tiny perfectly cooked pieces of Asparagus.
Hal then had the Stuffed Squid on a bed of Mushroom Risotto, which he said was fabulous. I had the Lobster Ravioli, rich but really amazing. We also ordered the Cos Salad - a whole baby Cos with a lovely vinaigrette, and of course the Pommes Frittes - which were tiny and crispy.
We had to try a (just ONE) dessert - the Salted Caramel Eclair. Superb.
We feel so lucky to have another fabulous restaurant literally underneath our apartment. Bit dangerous though. If I had a criticism it was the way they serve the food - very French. There were two 'servers' (they wear aprons), one a tiny slip of a thing, who carry out the food on huge silver trays (which was almost bigger than her), but they have to stand and wait till a waiter is available to bring it to the table. Sometimes she had to run around the room - carrying the full tray - to get a waiter's attention. I guess this will improve with experience and maybe more floor staff.
Even though it was Day 2, the food and charming service overall was standout.
We were persuaded to try one of the bar snacks - Deep fried old man's saltbush with aioli. Never heard of Saltbush, but it was amazing - crunchy and salty, and the Aioli was gorgeous.
Lovely venue, good service, good food.