Monday, April 07, 2008

Claude's - Sydney

Behind a locked door in a demur two story Federation terrace house at 10 Oxford St. Woollahra Chui Lee Luk weaves her food magic. Claude's French restaurant serves a tasting menu, with matched wines if desired, of the highest quality, deserving of the highest accolades. Tuesday to Friday an a la carte menu is also available.
It begins with scrumptious small choux pastry balls stuffed with fried roe in cheese before the first course which is the famous and surprising smoked salmon consomme- simple and pleasing with the thinest strip of seasoned pastry atop the demi tasse.
Blue swimmer crab egg roll was excellent and, as with all the dishes, simply and beautifully presented. The accompanying strips of carrot and parsnip were a little over roasted and slightly dryThe rest of the menu and photographs follows.
Bitter and sweet salad of ocean trout - superb. This photograph doesn't do it justice
Whitefish, squid & shiitake The small pieces of crunchy fried squid gave this special character
Crepinette of duck a slight error in description a crepinette is small crepe but the taste excellent again Beef in suet pastry. Actually a slice of beef and a suet pudding with a stuffing of intercostal (i.e. rib) muscle. The only dish that I did not care for because of the strong taste of the suet and I would have liked a larger piece of the Angus beef Blancmange dressed with muscatel grape sauce Perfect consistency Pineapple soufflé. Could not be better.

We also had the matched wines which were mostly French with an Australian, New Zealand and Austrian contribution.
Except for the Jurancon dessert wine, which was not sweet enough for the soufflé, the wine selection was very well matched to the food and the amount served was generous. They were
2007 Kilikanoon Mort's Reserve Watervale Riesling S.A.
2005 Francois Chidaine Montlouis sui Loire 'Clos de Breuil' Fr. A pleasant Chenin blanc
2006 Hirsch Gruner Veltliner Heligenstein At. Slightly sweet, reminicent of some reislings
2004 Ransom Dark Summit N.Z. Rather dry
2003 Laurent Miquel St. Chinian 'Bardou' Fr. Gentle balanced with no obvious acidity
2004 Charles Hours Jurancon Uroulat Fr.
Price: Tasting menu $165, matched wines $85. Patrons are welcome to bring their own special bottle of wine!

Comments: The understated setting of this small venue encourages a clientele who displayed more respect for the food, and the other diners, on the night we ate there, than many larger restaurants.

An outstanding dining experience Claude's certainly rates in the top few restaurants in Australia or, indeed, anywhere.
Score: 18.5/20

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