There’s no limit to the imagination when chefs have fun with a menu. Arras Restaurant‘s “Days Off”takes inspiration from the chefs time away from the restaurant’s kitchen, with each dish of the eight-course menu reworked and recreated with ingenuity.
Arras Restaurant, Sydney
Arras is located on Clarence Street, opposite the Alliance Française de Sydney. The restaurant opened late in 2011 after a major refurbishment of the space that was one Bécasse. A crisp white interior accented by navy blue carpet and plush Paul Smith chairs, the hatted restaurant features two levels of dining and a graffiti mural running along the length of the premises covered by sheer white curtains.
For one night during Good Food Month, guests of Citibank enjoyed a whimsical and fun menu by Arras’s head chef, Adam Humphrey, a restaurant partner in the Citibank Dining Program.
Pizza – No half and half, No Pineapple!
Taking inspiration from Rosso Pommodoro in Balmain, Pizza – No half and half, No Pineapple! sets its own rules complete with an exclamation mark. A slow-ferment pizza dough was baked in ultra high temperature to create a crispy cracker style and the toppings (cheese, basil, olives, capers) were dehydrated and served along with a tomato sauce.
All Day Breakfast
Where else could you sip Prosecco while eating All Day Breakfast. This dish gives a gentle nod to a healthy breakfast with puffed rice and seeds, spiced carrot and apple, raisins and tin dollops of goats milk creme fraiche.
Bread and Butter with Truffle Shavings
Bread and Butter with Truffle Shavings are a reminder that you are still dining at a top end restaurant, complete with white tablecloths and a touch of class.
Next is a Sushi Train that you don’t ride but will leave you wanting more. The kingfish is cured and torched, the soy sauce is turned into a gel, wild rice is puffed and a sushi rice and picked ginger puree are made. There is a touch of heat from the wasabi while the dressed daikon adds an element of freshness. Unlike a sushi train, you don’t get a second helping of this favourite dish.
2 Minute Noodles
The 2 Minute Noodles took much longer than their namesake to concoct. Alkaline Hokkien noodles were mastered in-house, freshened with roast salmon, fresh vegetables, topped with an Asian style consomme and served with a sachet of dried seasoning. Delicious and served with a side of “wow factor”.
The Prawn Tandoori has all the flavours you would expect. Presented in a broken down form, it is made with prawns from the Gold Coast, tandoori paste with lentils, chilli, coriander and Aloo Pratha bread with spiced potato.
Paying homage to the Henry Sandwich at Wedge Espresso in Glebe, “The Henry” is made of pickled pork leg cooked like ham, a gruyere consomme, toasted brioche crumbs and rocket, basil puree, confited egg yolk and Chipotle Mayo. Sensational.
Parma and Pot
Parma and Pot is a humble dish by comparison to its predecessor. Poussin from Thirlmere is used instead of chicken, Parma sauce, bacon jelly, roesti and Parmigianno Reggianno.
Steak and Chip
Steak and Chip is a delight, with succulent beef rump cooked in its own drippings, served with roasted mushroom, peppercorn sauce, a big chip and beef fat hollandaise in the small pocket on the right.
Beer and Nuts
Beer and Nuts herald the start of the sweet dishes. The almonds and peanuts are roasted and glazed, and the delicious beer ice is topped with lemon jelly and sherbet that fizzes on the tongue.
Burger with the Lot
Burger with the Lot is a piece of sweet art on a plate. A milk-based burger bun topped with black and white sesame hides a chocolate ganache “patty” and a little sable as onions. Add beetroot jelly, dried pineapple, creme fraiche and passionfruit “fried egg”, top it with raspberry “ketchup” and you’ll have a dish that exemplifies the “Days Off” menu.
Arras’ legendary Petits Fours bring out the inner child in everyone. The odd squeal may even be heard at a table. You take what you can eat and simply indulge, without judgement.
The Days Off dinner was a playful night filled with anticipation of the next dish. The paper menu that was presented at the start of the evening merely listed the name of the dishes, inviting it to be filled in. But it was merely a tease. Partway through the evening, diners were given discreet envelopes with printed notes and explanations of each dish. While the fun element was present throughout, the creativity, techniques and execution of each dish made it a dining experience to be remembered.
204 Clarence St
Sydney CBD, NSW 2000
Ph: 02 9252 6285
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