Wednesday, November 25, 2015
I took the Missus for her birthday dinner over to Aqua Dining. It was located right off the water on the north side of the bridge next to Luna Park (literally). I was so delighted with the meal I had to share.
Aqua is located in same building as the North Sydney Olympic Pool. It's got a great breath taking view of the harbor bridge and opera house. It's situated over the main pool, I'll say it's a little weird having dinner overlooking a bunch of people in their speedo's doing laps it's a very busy pool. Since you're sitting above the pool it kind of fades into the background, eye level is the harbor view. The staff were very attentive (our waiter noticed the table was wobbly and brought over cork shims to immediately rectify the problem) and did a great job of checking on us without being intrusive. Normally this isn't worth calling out, but in Sydney service is a bit less attentive than what you might be use to in the US. On to the food:
I had their take on the Moscow mule, I didn't write down the contents but it was rum and raspberry, it was quite good. I liked the ice "flower" on top.
We were presented with an amuse bouche of cured salmon with squid ink and pickled beet.
Both of us chose to go with the 3 course selection. The menu was organized by course and you could choose 2,3 or 4 courses. I started with the veal sweetbreads with pickled kohlrabi and puffed amaranth. She had the scarlet prawns with buckwheat, buttermilk and black sesame. The shrimp were small but every morsel was very sweet and delicious, we're told very difficult to get and we can see why. Apparently for Christmas, prawn (shrimp) are very popular (instead of say turkey and ham).
For the pasta course she went with the Maccheroncini, with 62 degree yolk, spinach and eggplant sauce.
I went for the burnt semolina tagliolini with sea urchin, fennel pollen and shaved bottarga. WOW, ok when (not if) I come back I could easily order 4 courses of just this. It's got two of my favorite things in the world Uni (sea urchin) and Bottarga (an Italian version of 烏魚子) the pasta was toothy and super creamy (from the sea urchin) I didn't even mind the licorice of the fennel pollen. Don't let the plating fool you, it was a good amount of pasta.
Main course: she selected the Wagyu beef with celeriac and pizzaiola sauce (a tomato based sauce with basil and oregano). Super tender and the Wagyu just melted in your mouth.
I had the lamb rump with roasted baby lettuce and macadamia. I did ask about the preparation, sometimes lamb rump could be slow cooked or stewed (which i'm not partial to) but he said cooked at 60 in a water bath. This was a good temp, very flavorful and perfect tender juicy texture.
We didn't go for a dessert course, I actually bought a cake back home. They have a 85 degrees bakery (it's a Taiwanese bakery) here and we love their "Taro Fantasy" cake. Taiwanese cakes tend to be a lot less sweet than their western counterparts and the cake very spongy and light in texture.
Back to the restaurant. We were surprisingly full after three courses. The food was amazing and it was a great place to celebrate a birthday. It's definitely on my list of favorites of all the places we've eaten here in Sydney. If you ever make it out here check it out.