It's October. It's the Crave Sydney International Food Festival. It's Let's Do Lunch!
Aria Restaurant is always a popular spot for the Let's Do Lunch event. And with almost a full house on the first days of the event, the kitchen and waitstaff at Aria already had the lunch routine down pat.
There was a queue waiting to be seated at 12pm when my lunch companion, Caroline, and I arrived. Short wait to be shown to our window table (Circular Quay view) before we decided to have the Let's Do Lunch special, with a glass of Brown Brothers savagnin (white wine) for Caroline and San Pellegrino sparkling mineral water for me ($35 each, for the main and a glass of wine, water or beer).
Two mouthfuls of a rich, intensely flavoured Gazpacho to start. With grain bread with butter.
The featured main dish this year is a roasted fillet of Wild River barramundi, on a bed of crab and pea risotto. The fish was wonderfully moist, and hot (nothing worse than a cold fish!). The risotto had a good flavour, but was more al dente than I normally like.
We also shared a side of green beans with pears, walnuts and Roquefort (extra $14):
The Roquefort cheese was amazingly good, and the beans were crisp and moreish. The pear appeared to have been marinated (or was it actually quince?).
Dessert is an extra $20. There is a great selection of desserts, including a selection of cheese.
We went with the oeufs a la neige.
This was a beautiful plate of poached meringue, saffron cream, orange sorbet, chopped pineapple and ginger, and sesame seed wafers. Quite a strong scent of saffron in the bright yellow smear of cream, while the oeufs (meringue) were soft and melt-in-the-mouth.
Desserts are a highlight at Aria, I've found. And as our waiter said, they are made for sharing. Caroline also had a flat white (around $5), though they didn't have the soy milk version she asked for.
As I mentioned before, the operation for Let's Do Lunch at Aria is like a well-oiled machine. We were served by around 4 different, very efficient waitstaff during our 1 hour lunch. A bit rushed, but nothing to complain about. The setting is also fantastic, and it's fun to gaze out the window at the camera-toting tourists strolling along the waterfront. Just as long as this camera-toting diner can have a lovely meal and dessert and take some pretty pictures.
My visit to Aria last year for Let's Do Lunch can be seen here. See if you can notice the similarities between the 2009 main dish and this year's...
Aria is at:1 Macquarie St
Sydney NSW 2000
Ph: 02 9252 2555