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Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Bentley Restaurant, Surry Hills

Do you know lemonpi?

I was always amazed by the incredibly crafted and exquisitely plated desserts by Y until eventually she revealed she was a qualified pastry chef, patient enough to invest time on her food blog even after early starts and long shifts in the kitchen.

Unfortunately I never managed to make it to Sepia during her stint there, but we do catch her in her final week working at Bentley, just before she heads off on a well-deserved holiday to New York and San Fransisco.

Caramelised pineapple
with barley cream and beer sorbet

We are rather excited as we step into the bar area, buzzing with patrons on a Friday night. We've made a booking for the four-course dessert degustation ($40), and manage to secure a last-minute 8.30pm sitting after switching from an initial Wednesday night booking. Our enthusiasm is momentarily sapped by an unfortunate exchange with a waiter, who sweeps over after we clarify we are here for dessert only, and then coolly demurs that our table was sold as a full three-course meal.

An awkward silence descends over our table as we seem to be drawn into an uneasy guilt-laden stand-off. Eventually our waiter leaves, although the fifteen minutes it takes for another waiter to finally take our drink orders (Pedro Ximenez sherries, riesling and an earl grey tea) seems longer than usual.

No matter. We are here for Y.

A cavernous pointed bowl holds our first dessert, briefly described as caramelised pineapple but holding so many more components within its depths. A quenelle of beer sorbet is light in texture but deliciously alcoholic in aftertaste, perched on a rubble of biscuit crumbs, barley cream and quivering jelly. We revel in bursts of pineapple, found in crunchy dehydrated slivers and caramelised cubes.

Milk cake
with magnolia ice cream and white chocolate

Our next course is angelic in vision, composed entirely of shades of white and cream. Topped with a delicate white chocolate sail, magnolia ice cream is silky in consistency with subtle floral notes of vanilla. A plank of milk cake--similar to this recipe for tres leche cake I presume--is wonderfully sweet and milky with syrup, and I'm torn between saving this or the balls of nitrogen-frozen ice cream for last.

It's a playground of textures and temperatures, and we have fun dipping our spoons in and around the plate.

Frozen cheesecake
with mango and blueberry

We move onto a frozen cheesecake for our third course, deconstructed into a trail of sweet biscuit crumbs and a dollop of whipped cream cheese. Blueberries add a touch of sweetness, complemented by a cascading fan of thin mango slices. On top is an ethereal puff of lime foam.

Chocolate sponge
with cherry sorbet and coconut

A chocolate sponge finale seems particularly rich, amplified somewhat by the preceding trio of lighter desserts. We find soft and moist chocolate sponge cake, a scoop of cherry sorbet and a fragile shard of coconut tuile that shatters at the lightest touch. A gnarled and twisted length of toffee tastes of coconut and palm sugar, but proves to be dangerously sticky to teeth, instantly lodging itself in every crevice and fissure.

Much more soothing is a log of cool dark chocolate ganache, scattered with chocolate brownie crumbs and offset by frozen berries and a tart berry coulis.

We send a message of hello to Y in the kitchen, but it is getting late and she is flat out in the kitchen plating desserts. It will not be so long a wait until the next time we try Y's dessert, I promise myself.

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Bentley Restaurant and Bar on Urbanspoon

Bentley Restaurant & Bar
320 Crown Street, Surry Hills, Sydney
Tel: +61 (02) 9332 2344

Opening hours:
Tuesday to Sunday for lunch and dinner

Related Grab Your Fork posts:
Surry Hills - Bird Cow Fish
Surry Hills - Bodega Tapas Bar
Surry Hills - Boteco
Surry Hills - bills
Surry Hills - Le Monde
Surry Hills - Oceanic Cafe
Surry Hills - Spice I Am
Surry Hills - Sugarcane
Surry Hills - The Smokehouse
24 comments - Add some comment love

posted by Helen (Grab Your Fork) on 11/03/2010 02:56:00 am


  • At 11/03/2010 3:29 am, Blogger Phuoc'n Delicious said…

    Y is awesome! I am sad to not be able to have had the luxury of trying her desserts at Sepia, now I missed out on Bently too?! Here's to being able to try more of her creations in the near future.

    Those desserts look amazing! We need more dessert degos!

  • At 11/03/2010 3:35 am, Anonymous billy @ a table for two said…

    I thought we were there for my birthday! Was it just an excuse to try Y's creation? ;)

    The little mishap sure did ruin our night and I surely felt unease the whole night. Nevertheless,the desserts made up for it.

  • At 11/03/2010 3:55 am, Anonymous chocolatesuze said…

    maybe next time we say before we're seated we're only having desserts lol we need to go back and try the marshmallows!

  • At 11/03/2010 9:16 am, Anonymous Matthew (Masterchef) said…

    You bloggers move in tight circles. Looks like you and suze had a lovely evening!

  • At 11/03/2010 9:50 am, Blogger OohLookBel said…

    Y is certainly a dessert genius. I still dream about her 'forest floor' dessert from Sepia days.
    And dessert degustation - great idea!

  • At 11/03/2010 9:54 am, Blogger Unknown said…

    Thanks for introducing us all to another great blog - lemonpi - impressive stuff from Y!

  • At 11/03/2010 10:01 am, Anonymous Jonathon James Clarke said…

    Those desserts look awesome ~ thanks for sharing! Sorry to hear that your night was spoiled somewhat by the stupidity and arrogance of waitstaff. I suggest we appoint Anna Johnston of The Hospitality Guru as our nominated enforcer in such circumstances. Like Fat Clemenza from The Godfather, it will be her job to take such ill-bred, ill-trained, should-be-working-in-a-fast-food-chain toolboxes for a long ride with the boys! ;)

  • At 11/03/2010 10:32 am, Anonymous Vivian - vxdollface said…

    it's a shame the waiter was so rude! other than that, the desserts look amazing! i didn't even know they offered a dessert degustation :O

  • At 11/03/2010 10:48 am, Anonymous Maria @ Scandi Foodie said…

    Everything looks so gorgeous!

  • At 11/03/2010 11:03 am, Anonymous Hannah said…

    This post is my kind of heaven :) Beer sorbet, barley foam, chocolate, pineapple... whackadoodle yum! Such a shame about the snooty waitstaff, but at least you triumphed in the end ;)

  • At 11/03/2010 11:11 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    oh wow - now i really want desserts, especially after reading this and suze's blog!

  • At 11/03/2010 11:41 am, Blogger Anna said…

    oh yummmm :)

  • At 11/03/2010 1:53 pm, Blogger Karen | Citrus and Candy said…

    Can't believe I still haven't tried any of Y's desserts yet! I missed her Sepia stint and now Bentley. *sad face*

    I really need to stalk her more. An unfortunate way to start the night Helen but at least desserts will always make up for it.

  • At 11/03/2010 3:32 pm, Blogger Angie Lives to Eat (and Cook)! said…

    Awww desserts are my weakness! I'd take a dessert degu anyday! Will have to add this Lemonpi blog to the read list =)

  • At 11/03/2010 6:48 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I am with the waiter on this.

    Don't you think it is rude to turn up to a busy restaurant at 8:30 on a Friday and expect to only eat dessert? Restaurants are not money making machines and a prime table on one of the weeks busiest nights only eating dessert is going to dent the profitability.

    I would have thought a table of bloggers would recognise that and have a higher level of empathy with the restaurant than seems to be the case here. I also wonder if your waiter was actually Nick Hildebrandt who is the co-owner of the restaurant and thus he could be justifiably put out wit a table not ordering dinner.

    OK they have a dessert tasting menu but isn't this designed to be eaten after courses from the ALC?

  • At 11/03/2010 7:02 pm, Blogger Rita (mademoiselle délicieuse) said…

    Bliss! So many pretty desserts and not just some over-gorging of sugar.

  • At 11/03/2010 10:20 pm, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Thanks everyone for your feedback!

    Hi Billy - lol. We were there for both reasons of course! Hope you enjoyed your birthday pressie!

    Hi Matthew - Food blogging has opened a world of fantastic friendships :)

    Hi OohLookBel and Karen - Yes I'm so sorry I didn't get to Sepia whilst she was there.

    Hi Hannah - whackadoodle? lol. I ike it.

    Hi Gourmet Chick, Gastronomous and Angie - Enjoy. Y is amazing!

    Hi Anon - Thanks for your input. Just to clarify - we did specify we would only be there for dessert when we made our initial booking, however it seems this was not communicated to floor staff on the evening.

  • At 11/03/2010 10:47 pm, Anonymous Honey @ honeyandsoy said…

    You had me at 4 course dessert degustation... that Y, she is a star! And I'm also sorry we didn't know about this sooner so we could give it a go while Y was still there!

  • At 11/03/2010 10:54 pm, Blogger YaYa said…

    Sounds a great night despite the rudeness from the staff, there is never any excuse for serving up attitude to any customer, the place is also a bar right? And therefore does not necessarily sell multi-course meals to everyone coming in, and the staff member made a poor judgement call based on no factual information, did they actually check that you had prebooked the dessert menu before making you feel guilty? Mostly worried about low tips I'd say.

  • At 11/04/2010 5:58 pm, Anonymous Jacq said…

    Omg Y's desserts look amazing! Shame about the attitude from the staff though, but it seems like the night ended on a sweet note with 4 tasty looking desserts :)

  • At 11/04/2010 6:01 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Y's desserts never cease to wow and amaze!
    Pity bout the rude guy (should had teken him down Helen!)

  • At 11/05/2010 3:42 pm, Blogger susan said…

    Wow I had no idea that LemonPi was a pastry chef working in such great restaurants. Although I think a lot of food blogs that I have seen should be working in the industry.

    I went to Bentley just after it first opened many years ago with a couple of friends, and when we ordered we just got a selection of tapas and cocktails and they were quite rude in saying is that all you are ordering. Let's just say that we got our food very quick and our bill quicker as they rushed us out the door. I haven't been back since.

  • At 11/06/2010 11:46 am, Blogger Cathy x. said…

    ahh.. well i suppose that explains the awkward silence when i came by and said hello :P

  • At 11/09/2010 1:15 pm, Anonymous Forager @ The Gourmet Forager said…

    What an amazing dessert degustation - and well-priced! I have to say, another dessert degustation I had recently seemed ludicrously overpriced in comparison.


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