I was surprised, to say the least, to find a voucher for a hatted restaurant on Groupon.
‘Foveaux?’ I said aloud. ‘I’ve never heard of it.’
I looked up the restaurant’s menu and it was very easily the strangest combination and use of ingredients I’ve ever seen or tasted. While usually I’m not one that ventures towards anything too out of the ordinary, ever since my recent eye-opening time overseas I’ve been determined to try new flavours and experiences. I pressed ‘Buy’ on the Groupon for a two person for $60 dinner and easily found a willing dinner companion for the evening, Fashion Obsessed Girl.
We arrived 6.30 on the dot for our reservation and was greeted formally by one of the waiters. The restaurant is split level, with the luxurious Red Door bar downstairs and the Foveaux restaurant upstairs. The interior is all warm shades of cream with brick, with contemporary paintings on the walls and (my camera’s downfall) intimate mood lighting. We were seated at the back near the kitchen at an expansive table for two with our seats facing the length of the restaurant. As restaurants go, it’s quite small and cosy, and wouldn’t have seated more than about 25 to 30 people.
There were two waitstaff, who were very formal and courteous throughout the evening, although our main waiter (I think his name may have been Nicholas) had quite a dry sense of humour and was more than willing to explain the menu to two poor ladies who were Googling the unusual ingredient names. It was a refreshing change to see that the beautiful atmosphere of the restaurant didn’t come with pretentious waitstaff.
To start off our dinner, we were given a lovely warm and soft bread roll each, which we slathered liberally with some beautifully creamy butter.
We were then presented a complimentary amuse bouche, which was a cream of mushroom soup with Lebanese croutons in a small rounded glass just larger than a shot glass. I’m not quite sure what made the croutons Lebanese, but they were delicious.
Our entrees arrived in a very short amount of time, (we hadn’t even finished our bread) with Fashion Obsessed Girl’s Buffalo ricotta cannoli, cucumber, tomato, olive and Provencal herbs ($24) presented beautifully.
The ricotta cannoli was strong in flavour and very creamy, with the cannoli pastry being deep fried until crisp and bubbled, although I do think it could have been slightly crisper. It was a lovely, light entree with the green vinaigrette balancing the cloying taste that ricotta tends to have.
My Rabbit terrine with raisin, roquefort, with a salad of walnut, endive, apple and celery ($24) was presented in a more rustic manner. I had selected this entree primarily because I’ve never had rabbit before, and I was surprised that it tasted a lot like pork, but was more tender with a slightly gamier flavour and beautiful with the addition of roquefort cheese. The salad was a refreshing accompaniment with the sweet apple, and I successfully managed to dodge the celery.
Our mains were next, also plated well and cleanly.
Fashion Obsessed Girl had selected the vegetarian option, the Roasted swede gratin with asparagus puree, braised pearl barley and sorrel ($36). Don’t mistake the gratin as being Swedish, now! A swede is actually a vegetable in itself, a rounded root vegetable with purple skin, orange-yellow coloured flesh and a very creamy texture similar to potato. If you go to a gourmet grocer you can find them near the parsnips. It was sweet, flavoursome, and cooked to the degree that while soft, each layer of the gratin was clearly distinguishable. The asparagus puree was well-seasoned, and the pearl barley and fresh sorrel gave the dish additional complementing textures. She had ordered a glass of South by Pirie, a Pinot Gris from Tamar Valley in Tasmania, and it went well with both her entree and her main.
My Roast mulloway with mussell, caponata vinaigrette, ciabatta crisps and watercress ($36) was a beautifully roasted piece of fish with the skin as deliciously crisp as the piece of ciabatta. The soft, silky flesh of the fillet flaked away with a slight nudge of my fork. I like to describe it as the ‘page-turning effect’ – my ultimate joy when eating fish. I was a bit wary of the mussel, having not had much shellfish in my life save from scallops and oysters (one love, one hate), but I tried it and it was lovely, flavoursome and slightly briny.
We were too full to have a dessert each so we settled with one – the one that had immediately jumped out at me as soon as I looked the menu up online a week ago.
The Thyme parfait with lemon curd, blueberry sorbet, macadamia nut and dried lemon sponge with macerated blueberries ($16) was 100 per cent faultless. While the idea of thyme in a parfait will have most people raising their brows, the thyme was subtle yet still distinguishable in the creamy parfait, slightly crunchy with its ice shards. The sweetness of the blueberries contrasted gorgeously with the sharp citric tartness of the lemon curd, and the dried lemon sponge and roasted macadamia nut adding a crunch factor not unlike a crumble. It was delicious and just the perfect amount. A joy to look at and devour.
A beautiful restaurant with beautiful food and wonderful service. What more can you ask for?
Foveaux Restaurant & Bar
65-67 Foveaux Street, Surry Hills NSW 2010
(02) 9211 0664