This place opened only recently. It replaces the ill-fated "Olea". That place succumbed to a host of negative reviews from food writers and bloggers. Shame on them. :|
This place is Asian fusion. Kenji does that style very well. It's a lot more interesting than sushi and tempura.
Many of the dishes here are designed for sharing. Since I don't like to share, I'll stick to the smaller ones.
Lime, avocado, chilli and puffed wild rice.
Scampy is apparently like a prawn or yabbie. He even has his own cute little name. Scampy is served raw. Apparently you eat lime at the same time, and it cures the meat in your mouth.
I'm glad there aren't many people here. I looked like a bit of an idiot trying to get my mouth over most of this lime, in order to get Scampy into my mouth.
Once Scampy was in my mouth, I squeezed in some lime juice. Also a very odd thing to do.
Unfortunately, squeezing lime juice into my mouth is different from eating something with lime juice mixed into it. My mouth is full of sourness, until I swill everything around. I'm not waiting for any curing to go on. :)
Although I squeezed too much lime into my mouth, Scampy has a smooth seafoody taste, that goes nicely with the lime. The bits of cereal crunch are nice too.
My second portion of this dish produces the opposite result — not enough lime. Scampy is a bit too raw and potent here.
This dish tasted fine, and was very interesting, but was woefully impractical. That was also probably the smallest amount of food I've ever paid $18 for.
Yoghurt, edamame, anchovy, black garlic.
I'm sure chef will appreciate me ordering a single lamb chop. :)
I'm rather partial to lamb cutlets. This is a good one. It's fairly salty, which is good. However, the dollops of yoghurt aren't quite right. They're actually slightly sweet. I really expect plain Greek yoghurt here.
Update: there was some lime juice and olive oil in the yoghurt.
The edamame (beans) are crispy and generally acceptable. :)
The diners near me have some qualms about eating the relatively intelligent octopus. So they order something else.
Later, the discussion moves into whether a squid has a brain or not. :| The waitress then goes and asks the chefs if they can answer this basic biology question.
Corn, young vegetables and pods.
I like pods. :|
This dish should be much more filling.
Indeed it is.
The Parmesan gives the gnocchi a nice tang, but the young vegetables are also a hit. They're very crisp and sweet.
At $20, this course alone was most of a meal. If you eat the big dishes here, you could be paying $30-40. If you eat the smaller ones, up to $100.
Fig, basil seed, coconut.
This is a very complex group of tastes. The cheesecake has only a light lime flavour, but that's enough. It serves as a good base for the many other flavours in the dish.
The fig sorbet on top tastes more like tart cherry. Its coldness adds to the experience. Update: no cherry. Just the centre part of the fig.
The fig "salsa" below adds a squishy texture.
The dots of foam, and the basil seeds, add more subtle textures to the dish.
Over all, I'm fairly impressed with this place. The things I didn't like, were things I'd class as mistakes — not bad cheffery. :) The chefs here clearly know what they're doing. That's good news. We know what bad reviews from writers can do. :)