For Mother's Day this year, I treated mum to a 7 course degustation at Lumi Bar & Dining, right on the wharf at Pyrmont. I was intrigued to see how they would fuse Italian and Japanese influences together. The first thing I noticed upon walking into the restaurant was the completely open kitchen and the sky of pendant lights hanging from the ceiling. The terraniums on each of the table, each slightly different than the next, were a nice touch.
First up was a series of snacks to whet our appetite. The Black sesame Brisee had a lovely crumbly texture and together with the mascarpone and caviar made for quite a decadent snack. The Nori chips with tomato powder had the texture of prawn crackers and I could easily have eaten a few more. The Onion and Chicken Liver Macaron was one of the sandout dishes of the night - I loved the contrast of the sweetness of the macaron against the saltiness of the onion and chicken liver pate. The Chawanmashi was done Italian style, with a hint of Parmesan, and was silky smooth.
Next came the spanner crab with a Bechamel emulsion, which was draped over with yuba, aka bean curd skin. The yuba was delicate and went beautifully with the crab.
I loved the look of the Braised daikon with gruyere cheese when it hit the table. Hidden under a blanket of gruyere was the softest and sweetest piece of daikon you could imagine. The burnt shallot oil was very aromatic and despite not really able to taste the dried venison liver, I was very impressed by the dish.
We then tried the Agnolotti with an eel dashi. The agnolotti reminded me of a ravioli, with a creamy mascarpone filling. The dashi, even though there was only a small quantity, was jam-packed with flavour.
Continuing with the pasta theme, we had the Spaghetti alla chitarra with Truffle Pecorino, and sweet red prawns. The spaghetti was perfectly cooked al dente and you could tell pasta is one of this restaurant's forte. All the elements of the dish worked well together and it was damn delicious!
Moving away from the cheese and pasta combo, we had the Beef cheek with the pickled castelfranco radicchio. The pickled castelfranco radicchio was a little bitter, not sure if that was the intent. Hiding under the radicchio was the braised beef cheek was was no doubt the star of the dish - it was so soft, breaking apart at the slightest touch with the fork.
Time for dessert! The Yuzu icecream with Limoncello Granita, capers and Wakame powder looked spectacular on the plate, and tasted just as good as it looked. The Yuzu ice cream was wonderfully refreshing, and there was a dolop of lemon jam on the bottom to give it an extra tang. The seaweed cracker had an incredible melt-in-the-mouth texture. It was a great palate cleanser dessert.
To finish off the meal, we had the young ginger icecream with passionfruit powder, lime zest and white chocolate foam. Sitting atop the icecream was a yoghurt crumble, which added more creaminess to the dish. The ginger flavour provided a good hit of spice, but was not overpowering at all. A great way to finish off a fantastic meal.
The overall standard of the food was excellent and I admired how they intertwined the Japanese and Italian ingredients and flavours together. At $95, it is one of the better value degustations in Sydney!
The first course was the Pickled scallop and heirloom tomatoes and fennel in a clear broth. The dish was so tasty and mesmerising that I forgot to take a photo...which is a real shame because it was such a photogenic dish. The tomato medley, together with the micro herbs and scallops gave it wonderful colour and the broth was really delicate with incredible flavours.
Next was the Seared Albacore Tuna with Pickled Strawberries and Horseradish. I don't often order tuna at a restaurant because it's so easy to overcook, but this was done just right. The dish came with a pickled cucumber jelly and seaweed cracker which added to the texture, and I loved the pickled strawberries, which had this wonderful, intense sweetness to it.
For Valentine's Day this year, I was treated to a five course degustation at Four in Hand in Paddington ($95pp). I have enjoyed Colin Fassnidge's cooking at Four Fourteen so was eager to see what was in store.
We were offered a complimentary glass of champagne and an amuse bouche to start. The Whitefish and citrus soup with smoked paprika and basil was very flavoursome and definitely woke up our palate. Interestingly, the butter and salt was served in bone marrow - a nod to their nose and tail philosophy.
Next, we had the Bavette and Beef Cheek with Buttermilk Curd and Summer Greens. I had to google what a bavette was - turns out it is a French style cut, similar to a flank steak. Again, it was wonderfully cooked but the star of the dish was the beef cheek. The meat was falling-off-the bone tender and soaked up all the wonder juices from the stock.
Corned beef is not normally an item you would see on the menu of a restaurant, let alone a fine dining one. However, the Warmed corned beef with bresciola, buffalo curd and nashi pear was a revelation. The poached corn beef was moist and juicy, sitting atop a precisely cut block of nashi pear which provided the sweetness. Draped over the top was the house cured bresciola with shaved horseradish and a rich cheesy buffalo curd.
The dessert - Chocolate ice cream with pedro ximenz and macadamic nut with Brioche combined some of my favourite foods in the world - brioche, macadamia and chocolate. The ice cream was rich and velvety smooth and the chocolate flavours were everywhere but never overly sweet. I savoured each bite, not wanting the experience to end.
I was very impressed with the food overall. All the dishes had wonderful textures and balance of flavours. The service was friendly and professional too.
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