When you dine at Vine Double Bay, the concept is introduced as share plate dining with an upmarket French influence. Yet behind this humble description lies a dining experience beyond expectations.
Vine is located along Short Street, at the site that was formerly Zigolini’s. A bright fitout with floor to ceiling windows, intimate tables, a cosy booth and a central communal long table give the venue elegance that befits its postcode.
Vine Double Bay
General Manager and hospitality veteran Mikee Collins and his team has created a chic and welcoming vibe with service style that ensures you are well looked after. He has also chosen a select wine list with some 50 wines with a focus on lesser known and boutique wineries which include organic and biodynamic styles from French vinters.
You’ll find a selection of cocktails on the drinks menu but it is the wine list that tempts. With many available by the glass, it is the best way to discover new wines which can be expertly matched with your choice of food.
Executive Chef Drew Bolton leads the kitchen and brings his experiences from Matt Moran’s Aria restaurant, Peter Gilmore’s Quay and a host of Michelin star restaurants such as New York’s Le Bernardin and The French Laundry in Nappa Valley, California.
The dishes are designed to be shared in multiples of two people, a refreshing change from the odd-numbered pieces on the majority of share plates. They are listed from smallest and lightest to largest and heaviest. Should you be inclined not to share, they can be offered at entrée and main course sizes.
Larger share plates suitable for 3 to 4 persons are also available. These include Slow cooked lamb shoulder ‘navarin’, potatoes, tomato, house made ricotta, mint ($68) and NZ pink snapper grenobloise, clams, mussels ($72).
Sourdough & Four Grain with Pepe Saya Butter
Bread is a choice of Sourdough & Four Grain from Pioik Bakery on Harris Street in Pyrmont accompanied by Pepe Saya butter with smoked salt.
There is no better way to start than with Smoky Bay Pacific Oysters ($4.50 each) with a Prosecco and fennel emulsion and rye to go with a glass of Champagne Laurent-Perrier. The oysters are simply delicious, creamy, briny and textural.
The Beef Tartare ($20) is presented as a piece of art, almost too good to destroy with a fork. Hand cut black angus with beef jerky, miso and egg yolk bring a combination of fresh meat flavour that is not overly seasoned with just the right amount of creaminess when you mix all the ingredients. The dish is lovely and light and comes with thin lattice-like toast.
The Duck ($23) is a celebration of autumn with a dish inspired from the South-West of France. Duck breast is cooked sous-vide, then onto the pan and smoked. The dish is assembled with foie gras, celery leaves, mandarin and hazelnuts in a wine reduction.
The duck breast is pink and tender with a smoky and gamey combination of flavours. The foie gras adds richness and creaminess while the celery leaf adds a savoury element. Add citrus from the mandarin, nuttiness from the hazelnuts and slivered chestnut and you have a standout dish where various components come together in harmony. In short, an expression of the kitchen’s abilities in textures and flavours.
Both dishes pairs well with a glass of 2013 Fratelli Alessandria Barbera d’Alba, a fruity and lighter bodied red with subtle spice.
From the larger share plates comes the Blue Eye ($32) with fragola, saffron, white carrot, soy beans and a bouillabaisse sauce redolent with fragrant saffron which you pour yourself over the dish.
The fish is perfectly cooked, moist and flaky with a salted crispy skin but it is the bouillabaisse that seduces with its sensual, creamy bisque-like texture and flavour and the lingering taste of saffron.
The Blue Eye is paired with a glass of 2013 Talmard Macon-Chardonnay from the south of Burgundy. Floral and fresh, the wine is not oaked and exhibits subtle minerality, fresh acidity, a robust white wine – in other words, an excellent Chardonnay.
Another autumn delight is the Venison ($36) from Mandagery Creek. Pink, tender and full of flavour, it comes with elegant potato glass, baby beetroot and blackberries which add a welcome sour note.
The venison is paired with 2014 Two Paddocks Picnic Pinot Noir from Central Otago, with ripe red fruit and spice character and an elegant finish.
Hand Cut Chips & Truffle Mash
With the choice of mains, the Truffle Mash with Black Truffle Butter ($10) is difficult to resist with its creamy, smooth texture and earthiness. Yet the Hand Cut Chips ($10) with Fennel Aioli and Spiced Ketchup (sample size shown) manages to somewhat eclipse it.
The potatoes are hand-cut, blanched in water then blast frozen. They are subsequently blanched in oil then blast frozen again, then fried in oil, salted and spiced. The result is a crispiness that is difficult to reproduce. The fennel aioli is elegant and mild while the ketchup packs a little heat and spice – what goes in it is a secret.
At this point you may wish to enjoy a little pause because dessert is set to release your inner child.
The Assiette Mignardises ($32) is the ultimate share plate dessert and at this point, you’ll be glad everything is designed for two persons because you’ll want to try everything: warm chocolate fondant with salted caramel ice cream, crunchy top creme brulee, dulce de leche lollipops, macarons, strawberry eclairs, rich chocolate mousse, rhubarb sorbet, peanut butter jelly truffles with a soft centre and apple sorbet lollipops which explode in the mouth.
Louis de Lauriston Fine Calvados
There is nothing left at this point but to sit back and sip on a digestif such as Louis de Lauriston Fine Calvados, a surprisingly easy sipping eau de vie with fresh apples and pear aromas.
Vine Double Bay succeeds into taking the much loved elements of French cuisine, the flavours, textures and techniques and modernising them into a share plate concept. The vibe is chic, inviting with welcoming and attentive service. The food is simply exquisite and the choice of matching wine is superb.
Call it French-inspired share plates if you wish. We like to think Vine is leading a renaissance of French cuisine in Sydney.
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2 Short Street, Double Bay, 2028
Phone: (02) 9363 0010
Monday-Wednesday: 5:30pm -10:30pm
Thursday – Saturday: Midday – Midnight
Sunday: Midday – 10:00pm
This article is posted on Gourmantic.com - All rights reserved - Copyright © 2016.