Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Forty One - Sydney

Forty One, oddly, is on the 42nd floor of Chifley Tower, 2 Chifley Square on the edge of Sydneys’ CBD. At least it is in the Yellow Pages, unlike several other leading restaurants e.g. Buon Ricardo, Marque and Claudes.
One of the early genuinely fine dining houses, still under the hand of Dietmar Sawyere, it has a brilliant position with every table having an incredible view of virtually all the southern bays, the opera house and all the North shore from Kiribilli House, the home of our Prime Minister, to the heads. At night the suburbs are lit up like a X’mas tree – a wonderful scene.
The restaurant itself is tastefully arranged around a long bay window. Double linen clothed tables are reasonably separated and guests demonstrated an unusual respect speaking quietly. Material covered wooden arm chairs added to the comfort. Waiters move quickly and deliver explanations, advice and food with quiet efficiency.
The menu is set out in five sections of three four or five dishes and a selection of cheeses with the suggestion that a dish from each section will help balance the meal.
After a lovely offering from the chef of an fulsome oyster with cucumber and a gnocchi – what is the singular for that?, on a fresh tomato sauce warm sour dough bread and extra virgin olive oil were delivered.
My first course, lightly smoked ocean trout, hand picked crab meat, a touch of Wasabi topped by a just hard boiled quail egg was a superb mix of taste and texture – a great start Grilled sea scallops (are there others), cauliflower puree, olive tapenade, green apple reduction had a superb sweet salt taste which lingered for some time after the plate had been removed. Steamed yabby tails were replaced by bug tails, served with a spaghettini pasta came with the best crustacean veloute I have ever tasted, with just a little dill. Yamba prawn tortellini, celeriac, a touch of Indian spices topped with some mini coriander was made with a gentle hand so that each of the flavours could be recognized and enjoyed.
A small cup of creamed asparagus soup separated the fish from the meat course.
The wagyu onglet, from the belly of the cow was braised with shallots and wood mushrooms on a bed of creamed potatoes with a rich jus. I don’t think this really does anything for the wagyu as any slow cooked meat would have worked for this dish but it was certainly tender.I skipped the cheese
A palate cleanser of panna cotta on a grapefruit granita worked extremely well in preparation for the quince mille feuilles, sheep’s milk yoghurt and almond parfait a dessert that tasted as good as it looked without being nauseatingly rich. Coffee and petit fours, included, completed a thoroughly excellent meal.I drank a 2005 Ruffino Chianti, by the glass ($15) which was light enough to enjoy with all the dishes selected. There is an extensive wine list priced reasonably for this quality of restaurant
They provide three degustation menus
Four courses $130 with matched wines $180
Five courses $140 plus wines $200
Six courses $150 plus wines $220

Score:16.25 /20

2 comments:

claire said...

Elliot, the singular for gnocchi is gnoccho. And "Kirribilli" House is technically not the official residence of the Prime Minister, no matter what John Howard may have thought!!! Hopefully Kevin Rudd will continue to stay in the Lodge at Canberra, where he belongs! ;)

The food at Forty One looks somewhat fussy for my tastes, but it's good to see a few Indian spices making their way into a haute cuisine degustation menu, rather than the usual East Asian stuff. Nice review!

Elliot said...

Ty Claire both for the information and the comment. I am always grateful for corrections but do tell me is there an official residence for the PM?
Re Indian spices, what I particularly liked was the delicacy in the way they were used so nothing was obtrusive and the combinations were excellent