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Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Cirrus Dining at Barangaroo, Sydney

Smoked ocean trout parfait and fennel pollen with pickled onions at Cirrus Dining at Barangaroo Sydney

Leather jacket cheeks? Honey bugs? Marron with lemonade fruit? It's all at Sydney's newest seafood restaurant, overtaking the space once occupied by Noma. Cirrus is the latest undertaking by Chef Brent Savage and Sommelier Nick Hildebrandt, joining a stable of restaurants that includes Bentley, Yellow and Monopole.

Cirrus Dining in the Anadara building at Barangaroo Sydney

You only have to look up to see the inspiration for the restaurant's name. Housed at the base of the Anadara building in Barangaroo, the Cirrus moniker ties in neatly with the soaring structure's undulating curves and cloud-like shape. 

2015 Farr Rising Gamay at Cirrus Dining at Barangaroo Sydney
2015 Farr Rising Gamay $82 bottle

The menu is designed to share, broken down into starters, oysters and caviar, and protein types: crustaceans, fish and land. Vegetables get their own section but seem mostly comprised of sides: chips and aioli, yellow bean and salad burnet, heirloom tomatoes with ricotta, and roasted carrots.  

A comprehensive wine list includes over 30 wines by the glass or carafe, including a good selection of orange and skin contact wines. We end up going with a bottle of the 2015 Farr Rising Gamay, made from grapes that are hand-picked and foot-stomped. It's delicious. 

Smoked ocean trout parfait and fennel pollen with pickled onions at Cirrus Dining in Barangaroo Sydney
Smoked ocean trout parfait and fennel pollen with pickled onions $24

The smoked ocean trout parfait is fast becoming a signature dish at Cirrus, presented in an elongated slice curved like a dorsal fin. The whipped parfait is silky smooth, contrasted with pops of ocean trout roe, a scattering of deep fried puffs and curls of pickled onion. We slather it generously onto thin slices of toasted baguette rounds.

Cos lettuce, whipped roe, Ortiz anchovy and cured yolk at Cirrus Dining at Barangaroo Sydney
Cos lettuce, whipped roe, Ortiz anchovy and cured yolk $22 

You won't want to miss the cos lettuce either. The lettuce has been blanched so it still maintains its colour and crunch. Across the top is a rich and salty assembly of whipped roe, Ortiz anchovies and cured egg yolk. It's reminiscent of a Caesar salad - without the croutons.

Cos lettuce, whipped roe, Ortiz anchovy and cured yolk at Cirrus Dining at Barangaroo Sydney
Moreton Bay bug and housemade XO $30

A single Moreton Bay bug is a lesson in simplicity, grilled so its sweet flesh takes on smoky caramelised notes, amplified by a generous basting of housemade XO sauce.

Whole flathead and chips at Cirrus Dining at Barangaroo Sydney
Whole flathead and chips $36

And the humble fish and chips combo gets upgraded here with a whole flathead, deboned and crusted in panko crumbs, amaranth and black rice. The fish is cooked to such an incredible crisp we happily crunch our way through the tail and fins. The eyeballs and fish cheeks aren't left behind either.

On the side is a bowl of golden fried chips that we dip greedily into the accompanying aioli.

Queensland mud crab with green garlic and tarragon at Cirrus Dining at Barangaroo Sydney
Queensland mud crab with green garlic and tarragon $154 for 1.1kg (market price $140/kg)

Queensland mud crab does involve getting your hands dirty - we watch one woman raise her eyebrows in alarm when this dish arrives at her table - but it's worth the mess. We go with the largest available size at 1.1kg and attack with dignified gusto. Don't worry. Individual finger bowls are provided. And the nut cracker alone is one of the fanciest we've seen.

The crab has been cooked to expert succulency, smothered in a green garlic and tarragon sauce that has a gentle vegetal bitterness. Our only disappointment is that the carapace has been completed cleaned of its organs. Where did they go?

Grilled Rangers Valley rib eye with kombu butter at Cirrus Dining at Barangaroo Sydney
Grilled Rangers Valley rib eye with kombu butter $65

We finish with one of the few meat options on the menu. The Rangers Valley rib eye is a caveman's delight, hunks of charred but juicy flesh ribboned with luscious fat. The bone is, as always, worth savouring.

Magnolia ice cream, passionfruit and almond meringue at Cirrus Dining at Barangaroo Sydney
Magnolia ice cream, passionfruit and almond meringue $18

Magnolia ice cream is a refreshing way to end our meal, a sunny collaboration of freeze dried mandarin, meringue petals, almond cake and the faintly floral magnolia ice cream.

Chocolate, wattle, macadamia and orange cake at Cirrus Dining at Barangaroo Sydney
Chocolate, wattle, macadamia and orange cake $18

But it's the chocolate, wattle, macadamia and orange cake that turns out to be the surprise favourite. It's a cleverly balanced dessert, satisfyingly chocolatey without feeling heavy or cloyingly sweet. A surprise layer of coconut and the toasted crunch of those caramelised macadamias keep me returning for more.

We find our server exceptionally warm and friendly too, engaging in just enough banter to keep the mood light and welcoming without feeling intrusive. There's so much more I'd like to try on the menu that I could see myself happily returning. The $120 Cirrus seafood platter with honey bugs? I'm coming for you.

Cirrus Dining restaurant in the Anadara building at Barangaroo Sydney


Cirrus Dining Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Cirrus Dining
10/23 Barangaroo Avenue, Barangaroo, Sydney
Tel: +61 (02) 9220 0111

Opening hours
Lunch daily from 12pm
Dinner nightly from 6pm

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posted by Helen (Grab Your Fork) on 12/13/2016 01:26:00 am


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