My Aunt is a vegetarian. For years she tolds stories about the challenges of being a vegetarian in Sydney in the 1970’s and the times the restaurant would merely remove the steak, thus providing her a dinner of potato and peas.
Luckily dining is no longer like this. But, often vegetarians still have limited options which can feel tokenistic and repetitive. This is why we have long been fans of chef Brent Savage (2015 SMH Good Food Guide chef of the year) and his Bentley Bar and Yellow restaurants. So for our first foray into their new CBD location, it should not come as a surprise that we all went for the tasting menu (some vegetarian, some not). I was dubious about the tasting menu, simply because whilst it’s an amazing selection of great ingredients, carefully and creatively prepared and beautifully plated, it is an awful lot of food and in fact we just couldn’t finish the second dessert – a slightly tart custard with raspberry and chervil sorbet. However, the tasting menu is a great way to sample the range of flavours available. The pork cheek was succulent and I really liked the quail with smoked celery; a combination of flavours I never would have otherwise considered.
The restaurant itself is in the former Bank of NSW building but has been carefully updated and is indeed somewhat funky. I had been told there is a tangle of glossy pick-up stick ceiling sculptures and there are, and they do somehow manage to harmonise with the original ceiling features. Blissfully, the tables are far enough apart that you cannot overhear your neighbour’s conversations and can instead devote all your attention to what everyone at your table is saying. The wine list by Sommelier Nick Hildebrandt provides some new finds and if it hadn’t been a week night we might have explored a bit further.