Hurrah! It's Good Food Month and what better way to kick off proceedings than with a Hats Off dinner at Becasse. Awarded Restaurant of the Year by the SMH 2007 Good Food Guide--a hitherto unheard-of achievement by a two-hatted restaurant--we were keen to toast the success of Justin and Georgia North, current darlings of the Sydney food scene.
The special six-course degustation ($130 plus wine) is themed around Australian organic and sustainable produce.
Puff pastry tart with tapenade, marinated tomato
and biodynamic Kervella goats'cheese
We are greeted with tomato tart canapes, a colourful trio of red, white and green on the lightest flakiest discs of puff pastry that melted into blissful nothingness on the tongue. The tomato is sweet, the goats' cheese is smooth, and its short-lived existence is all too fleeting.
Organic sourdough bread with
Harmonie Dutch organic cows' milk butter
Whetted appetites are held at bay by warm crusty organic sourdough rolls, fresh from the oven. We slather them generously with the accompanying Harmonie Dutch organic butter, so creamy and tasty I could eat it with a spoon.
Whilst we wait for our courses to arrive, we admire the plush yet cosy interiors. It is a welcoming restaurant, we agreed, with the perfect balance between decadent luxury and warm intimacy. Three giant halos of light, ringed with Swarowski crystals, hover angelically over diners on the ground floor. The sparkly pointed lights contrast with the earthy solidarity of carved wooden sculptures, which somehow tie together by continuing a circular theme.
Textured surfaces and hues of chocolate brown and cream also feature heavily. Heavy curtains in cream and brown ripple along one wall, the ceiling has a hanging white wave-like surface, and everyone confesses to touching the brown walls on their way to the bathrooms: the splodges of gold paint give a deceptive appearance of velour.
Our padded table are noticed by leaning elbows and even the chairs have a whimsical pattern of coloured dots that themselves are raised and tactile.
Cannelloni of Petuna ocean trout and sauce gribiche
with organic Boston Bay mussel beignets
and a salad of shaved fennel
Our first course arrives in a pretty geometric construction. A generous scroll of Petuna ocean trout contains a creamy sauce gribiche that has the delicate crunch of chopped cornichons. Two little parcels of organic Boston Bay mussels are wrapped up in a light-as-a-feather crisp golden batter.
Steamed Namoi River Murray cod
with a salad of Crystal Bay organic prawns and sauce vierge
At the first mouthful of the steamed Namoi River Murray cod, I know I have reached the likely highlight of my meal. The cod is beautifully cooked, and I take drawn-out delight in slowly eating each forkful layer by melting layer. The Crystal Bay organic prawns are small but intensely flavourful and the sauce vierge (meaning a virgin, or uncooked sauce) is well-seasoned.
Organic chicken ballotine and
pan-fried boudin blanc with buttered leeks,
leek puree, thyme emulsion and roast chicken jus
A ballotine is simply a parcel of meat filled with stuffing. The chicken is tender, although I think there's a little too much skin, and the boudin blanc (a French white sausage made with pork, veal or chicken and milk) is succulently smooth.
Roast fillet of "OBE" organic beef
with a saute of asparagus, baby lettuce and broad beans,
oxtail jus and creamed potato
OBE beef comes from an Australian collective made up of over 30 certified organic beef producers with a focus on international exports. The roast fillet of organic beef is pink in the middle and topped with crunchy shards of deep-fried shallot.
A sexy comma of potato is thick with butter and cream, and little morsels of oxtail sit in a sticky sweet puddle of jus. The lettuce and asparagus provide some vegetable relief although I wish I had more than one half of a plump green broadbean.
Macerated strawberries, Isigny creme fraiche and vanilla short cake
Macerated strawberries provide a welcome palate cleanser although its flattened appearance on the platter is a little forlorn, even with the quenelle of creme fraiche. The pile of vanilla shortcake smithereens is torturously sparse, as we eagerly seek out every last buttery crumb.
Caramelised organic orange tart
with mint infused biodynamic yoghurt sorbet
There is clearly reasoning behind this restraint as ample deliciousness arrives in the form of a caramelised organic orange tart. The tart is sweet and eggy with a crisp shortcrust base and a heavenly crackle of toffee veneer. The bruleed top is gleefully smashed with a spoon, its sweetness tempered by the coolness of yoghurt sorbet. It's a winning combination. Just ask the Norths.
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(between Market and Druitt)
Tel: +61 (02) 9283 3440
Lunch: Monday to Friday lunch 12.00pm – 2.30pm
Dinner: Monday to Saturday 6.00pm – 10.30pm
Becasse has moved to Level 5, Westfield Sydney
Related Grab Your Fork posts:
Becassé, Westfield Sydney - Chef's Table (May11)
Becassé, Westfield Sydney - Chef's Table (Jul11)
Becassé, Sydney - Vin de Champagne Awards (Sep10)
Becassé, Sydney - Fresh Black Perigord Truffles Producers' Forum (Aug09)
Becassé, Sydney - Champagne Spring Dinner (Sep09)
Becassé, Sydney - Hats Off Dinner (Oct06)
Etch, Sydney - A la carte lunch
Etch, Sydney - Fishing for a Difference: Justin North, Matt Moran & Matt Preston
Plan B - Wagyu burger and wagyu steak sandwich
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10/04/2006 11:55:00 p.m.