Celebrating milestones at ARIA

by Forager on April 12, 2013

Some surveys say that the first year of marriage is the hardest.

One such survey came out late last year and it was the type of ‘news’ publishers and broadcasters love and made headlines. Apparently for many, the post wedding, house and honeymoon spending bonanza often leads to financial stress and even a diminished quality of life. We were immediately asked by curious friends and family whether we felt that was the case. We’re relieved that we haven’t added to those statistics and that we’re rather happy. Besides he has proven himself pretty useful. He’s tall so he can reach things on higher shelves, and has better eyesight than me so he can spot mushrooms hiding in the undergrowth so I’ll keep him around for a bit longer. The past year has whizzed by quickly with our wedding, followed by two honeymoons (no, not excessive at all) and capped off with the purchase of our lovely new home. We’re having great fun furnishing and doing up our new place – it’s a blessing of vast space we’re slowly coming to terms with having somehow made do with our tiny 80m² apartment for the previous 4 years. We’ve hosted a dinner party for the first time ever and we feel like we’ve finally graduated to join the ranks of sophisticated entertaining adults.

To celebrate our one year wedding anniversary, we felt it was only fitting to head to ARIA given they’d catered our wedding and was a symbolic full circle to our year.

Unfortunately our desired times were fully booked out but we squeezed into an early pre-theatre sitting, available daily before the 7pm dinner service rush. The pre theatre menu doesn’t offer the gastronomic overload that a tasting menu offers, but does provide the option to choose 1, 2 or the full 3 courses with six well varied dishes to choose from for each course. After some deliberation on what to order (always a good sign when you like the sound of many things on the menu), we sat back to enjoy the view of the harbour and Opera House over chilled glasses of complimentary NV Egly-Ouriet Brut Tradition.

Aria Sydney Champagne French, Egly Ourlet

Celebratory glasses of NV Egly-Ouriet Brut Tradition, Ambonnay, France $30/glasss

A small amuse bouche heralded the start of the meal – an intensely flavoured chilled shot of creamy corn veloute that was gone all too quickly.

Aria Sydney amuse bouche sweet corn veloute

Amuse bouche of chilled sweet corn veloute

My scallop entree was one of the more nicely presented dishes I’ve seen in a while. Three plump seared scallops sat in a shallow vinaigrette pool, topped with a delicate morsel of razor clams. The mention of razor clams in the dish had swayed me to this entree choice so I was disappointed that the meagre sliver of razor clams added indiscernible flavour, but the rest of the dish was an umami flavour bomb and more than compensated. The scallops were tender and the vinaigrette reminded me of a delicate, meatier version of dashi.

Aria Sydney Scallop entree razor clam

Scallops: roasted scallops with calamari and razor clams, warm vinaigrette of celery, dulse and hazelnut oil

The Co-pilot chose the ‘safe’ pork belly entree (‘safe’ because let’s face it – you can’t really go wrong with pork belly). A thick slab of succulent belly meat was crowned with crispy crackling that I happily stole from the Co-pilot’s plate. What I initially thought were capers dotted around the plate were actually ‘muntries’, a native Australian bushfood also known as emu apples or native cranberries. They added a sweet fruitiness that complemented the pork nicely.

Aria Sydney Kurobuta pork belly

Pork Belly: Kurobuta pork belly with a pork croquette, muntries and star anise

For my main I’d chosen the lamb, a piece of seared but still thoroughly rare and simply seasoned lamb that seemed to melt away in my mouth. There was a smear of olive paste here and a pool of fennel sauce there, but the lamb really needed no support acts.

Aria Sydney, lamb

Lamb: roasted lamb rump with kipfler potato fondant, fennel and black olive

The Co-pilot’s barramundi main was the real surprise for me, in that, I really liked it. Fish is always the last thing I’m likely to order on any menu. I’m a great lover of all crustaceans, molluscs and raw fish is fine but cooked fish, not so much. Especially large fish – the sort you’d be happy to have caught on a day out fishing. I invariably find it’s always a bit dry and overcooked. I recall the Co-pilot cooking a tuna steak for me for our first date and I didn’t have the heart to tell him that I thought it was dry like a chicken breast (something else I steadfastly avoid). He likes to maintain that I picked at his tuna steak because I used to eat like a bird and now I eat like a ravenous crazed beast! Ahem.

But I digress, back to this barramundi – I’m not sure how it was cooked, whether it was confit or sous vide prepared – but I’d love to find out. It was silken smooth, as far from dry as I would want and I found myself wanting more than the Co-pilot would share with me. Hmm.. maybe there is some truth to that ravenous crazed beast title..

Aria Sydney Cone Bay Barramundi

Barramundi: roasted fillet of Cone Bay barramundi with pumpkin brandade and a caper and piquillo pepper vinaigrette

Accompanying our mains was a completely moreish truffled mash. I’ve no doubt more butter and cream than I want to envisage went into the making of that unctuous mash but we conveniently put the thought aside and couldn’t help shovelling one spoonful after another.

Aria Sydney truffled potato mash

Glorious truffled potato mash

Absolutely full after our 2 courses (see, I’m not really a crazed ravenous beast), we skipped dessert but were treated to a few petit fours that provided just the right hit of sweetness we wanted.

Petit fours for just the right amount of sweetness

Petit fours for just the right amount of sweetness

For the quality, attentive service, setting, views and overall experience at a 2 hatted restaurant, the pre theatre meal is a steal in my books with our 2 courses coming to $72pp. In fact, we might just make it an annual treat.

 

 ARIA

1 Macquarie Street, East Circular Quay, Sydney

Tel: +612 9240 2255; email: mail@ariarestaurant.com

Lunch: Mon – Fri noon – 2:30pm

Pre Theatre: Mon – Fri 5:30 – 7pm; Sat 5 – 7pm; Sun 6 – 7pm

Dinner:  Mon – Sun 7pm – 10pm

Supper: Mon – Sat 10 – 11pm

www.ariarestaurant.com

Aria on Urbanspoon

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{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Amanda April 12, 2013 at 2:12 pm

Congratulation Trina – that first year is indeed the hardest. I hope it continues to be all smooth sailing for you both.
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2 Reemski April 12, 2013 at 3:10 pm

Congratulations! Can’t believe 1 year has flown by so quickly! I love Aria. One of the most consistent performers in town if you ask me.

As for the first year of marriage beig challenging? I have no experience of that but I reckon the first year of a baby must top it!

3 Bel | Ooh, Look... April 12, 2013 at 4:00 pm

That seems like such a good deal, especially when you consider the surroundings and great service that usually comes with ARIA. Congratulations on your anniversary, too!
Bel | Ooh, Look… recently posted..Spiced chicken with tabouli and straying into FashionMy Profile

4 Christina @ The Hungry Australian April 12, 2013 at 11:21 pm

$72 per person? That is really great value. Btw I’ve only eaten razor clams once but found them so tasty – it’s a shame the small amount on your plate didn’t quite measure up but it sounds like the rest of the ingredients did a fine job compensating. Congratulations on your anniversary and joining the ranks of dinner party hosting adults, Trina ;)

5 Gaby April 13, 2013 at 8:43 am

Congrats Trina! I’ve heard multiples of 7 are really harsh in relationships so watch out! :)
Aria is in my list of “must-go” restaurants, I’d probably choose the exact same dishes you did.
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6 Richard Elliot April 15, 2013 at 6:27 pm

Happy Anniversary to both of you!

Pleased to hear that the first year has been wonderful. Not really surprising with two honeymoons! ;)

7 Angie April 16, 2013 at 8:28 pm

Oh wow where has time gone! Happy anniversary Trina and Co-pilot!
I was taken to Aria for my birthday a couple of years back and loved it.
It was definitely very fitting for you to celebrate with the same people who catered your wedding :)
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8 Forager April 17, 2013 at 4:38 pm

Hey Amanda – Thank you & you and me alike – I hope it doesn’t get much harder than this!

Hey Reemski – Yep, I reckon you’re spot on. This has got to be nothing compared to being a new parent! I can still see the look on my brother’s face the first time he was a new parent. He looked like he had been steam rolled!

Hey Bel – Thank you and service was impeccable – very much enjoyed it

Hey Christina – Yes I’ve had razor clams before – many times in Hong Kong and Europe actually, but you need a decent morsel to taste the flavours and sweetness of the clams.

Hey Gaby – Oh yes, the infamous 7 year itch. Hopefully we’ll be able to report back on all the multiples of 7!

Hey Richard – Haha, you’re right, we’ve invested in making the first yr a good one with 2 honeymoons!

Hey Angie – Thank you so much and yes it was a very symbolic and meaningful celebration of the date

9 Joanne T Ferguson May 21, 2013 at 5:24 pm

G’day and congrats on your anniversary, TRUE!
ARIA’s ambiance and Matt Moran are GREAT with the days that end in “Y” too!
Here’s my experience should you wish to view!
http://whatsonthelist.net/2013/02/16/cuisinart-valentines-day-foodie-dream-from-the-heart/
Cheers! Joanne
Joanne T Ferguson recently posted..Aussie Green Farmhouse Native Seasonings & Salts Damper with….My Profile

10 Sydney Restaurant December 3, 2013 at 3:35 pm

Congratulations on your anniversary, I’ve been to Aria before, I think it’s one of the best restaurant around in Sydney.

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