529 Kent Street
+61 2 9267 2900
Cookie Monster, Freckles and I made an agreement awhile ago to celebrate Mardi Gras in Sydney. The time finally came and I suggested dining at Tetsuya’s. The 2 girls, also lovers of good food, consented to fork out $210 for the 10-course degustation meal and so, I made a reservation for 3.
Sydney greeted us with dreadful weather: it was windy, it was rainy, and was simple miserable. However, we were eagerly twitching our toes in our soaked shoes in anticipation of dinner. Better yet, Tetsuya’s was accommodating to cater to Cookie Monster’s pescetarian diet and squeeze in her man as a last minute request.
Tetsuya’s is housed in a refurbished heritage-listed site with a Japanese-styled garden to gaze upon while enjoying your meal. Ceramic and porcelain sculptures are boldly studded amongst the surprisingly large dining rooms. Although the restaurant is located in the busy CBD, the interior design seems to give an insulated bubble from the chaos of the city, and transports diners into a zen, tranquil space.
We start off with some lovely white and grain rolls. The pot of butter that came with them appeared to be a fluffy emulsion with truffle and possibly parmesan. We couldn’t get enough of it.
Our first course was a chilled green pea soup, topped with a mini quenelle of dark chocolate. Who would have thought to put chocolate in soup? And to pair chocolate with peas?! I reckon chocolatiers should start producing chocolate-coated salty peas – they would make the most irresistible snack.
The next course left everyone speechless; it was exceptional and best enjoyed in private silence. The texture of the steamed egg was so smooth, I imagined this would certainly be equivalent to eating silk. After savouring it, Cookie Monster declared that it was the best chawanmushi she had ever tasted.
The salad of the sea was a beautifully plated art piece of tuna, kingfish, bonito and trout belly that had all been marinated, cured or lightly seared. It was a lovely end to the entrees. A lightly grilled Moreton Bay bug heralded the mains. It was fresh and sweet, and sat on a bed of caviar cream, with a pillow of braised witlof.
Next was Tetsuya’s signature dish of confit ocean trout. It was a generous serving of gorgeous coral tender fish, topped with a black sprinkling that smelled almost like Maggi seasoning. I later overheard that it was dehydrated konbu.
The rest of our mains came steadily, each dish bearing a reasonably large portion of protein, delicately cooked and paired perfectly with its accompanying sauce or veggies.
(Left) Baby N.Z. snapper with soy butter and nameko mushrooms
(Middle) Grilled breast of partridge with pearl barley and cavolo nero
(Right) Seared fillet of grass-fed Cape Grim beef with carrot and swede mille feuille
By the 8th course, all of us were getting quite snug around the belly and were wondering how we were going to fit two desserts in. A palate cleanser of pear sorbet quickly disintegrated that thought. It was extremely light, with every essence of pear (the fragrance, the grainy texture, the bite of skin) melting away the heaviness we might have felt from the previous dishes. It had magically cleared some stomach space, and whetted our appetites for dessert.
The apple granita was another refreshing dessert. I personally think that basil or mint is a fantastic accompaniment to fruit and this dish had all 3 elements in it. It was delicious. Our final course was a rich chocolate mousse with Henessy cognac ice cream. I couldn’t detect any hint of alcohol in the ice cream, and it worked beautifully with the velvety smooth mousse. Our 10-course meal ended with some delightful petit fours.
While I have had a few degustations where one or two of the dishes didn’t seem to appeal or simply disappointed, every dish at Tetsuya’s was well-received. I now understand why Tetsuya’s is on the San Pellegrino World’s Best 100 restaurants.