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Sunday, 25 March 2012

Foveaux, Surry Hills

Returning to a restaurant that had been in my memory as a stand out always fills me with some trepidation. Fear that the memory may be replaced a 'new reality' and the memory may fade into the distance. I needn't have feared this when returning to Surry Hill's quiet achiever, Foveaux.
Also home to Red Door wine bar, Fouveaux offers an intimate dining experience, ideal to enjoy with small groups of family and friends. The muted tones of the interior (including a couple of odd art works that caught our attention causing some amusement between ourselves and our waitress!) and mood lighting mean the attention is focussed on the food and wine. Where it should be IMHO! So great was the return visit that we were back again in the fortnight!  There is plenty that is classic about dining here - fresh bread rolls to the table, a fantastic wine list, amuse bouch and palate cleansers are all part of the dining experience. The friendly, unintrusive staff are always pleasant and relaxed. The kitchen featured behind glass contains some methodical and unfrenzied talent that you occassionally catch watching their clientele for their reactions to the dishes. I love that completely. They are genuinely intested in teasing your taste buds.
On our previous visit we partook of the degustation menu and would still recommend it for a first visit as the wine matching is also fantastic. We dined a la carte and loved the evening. The evening commences with a flavoursome amuse bouche - chilled cucumber soup with goats cheese and delicately flavoured with cumin.  On our second visit, a cooler evening, a warming pumpkin & feta soup tempted our taste buds.  We had to have oysters on both occasions, the first featured my favourite from Pambula and after that from Merimbula (not exactly a poor second). Wine vinegar pearls make these creamy legends of sea very appealing.
Exquisite entrees of smoked duck and confit duck spring rolls and buffalo ricotta cannoli kick us off. They feature wonderfully balanced flavours and the attention to everything on the plate promises a very happy palate.  Mains of wakame roast lamb rump with salt and pepper tofu, miso puree and shaved fennel is one of the richest dishes to try. The flavours are incredible and there have been at least on two occasions the sound of someone going "aaaah" as their try it. The roast mulloway with mussels and pureed watercress with a crispy ciabatta is a delicious choice and as 'unfishy' fish dish you can get. The caramelised olive gratin, with liquorice, sorrel, jerusalem artichokes and threads of crispy sweet carrot is skillfully prepared dish. The gratin features mesmerising wafers like finely sheets of paper and the numerous ingredients on the plate mean this vegetarian dish is anything but the after thought on the menu.
If you're moving on to dessert a delicious "cleanser" (that could be dessert in its own right) of poached pears, nutty crumble and a humble "milk sorbet" makes its way to the table. About now you are likely to question your ability to even look at the dessert. But doubts are soon laid to rest as equally clever desserts arrive at the table. The stand out had to be the thyme parfait and blueberry sorbet that included an ingenious dried lemon sponge that took on the crisp characteristics of a well executed pavlova crust. A difficult to ignore herb, the thyme plays a harmonious role with the sweet lemon curd, tart sorbet and light creaminess of the parfait. The bitterness of the chocolate mousse however proved challenging but its accompanying orange curd was delicious.  The 'deconstructed banoffee pie' which was a banana ice cream with a tonka bean foam, coffee crisp and digestive biscuit crumble found a very happy fan.
And if you hadn't had enough yet, end the evening with delightful petit fours of miniature buttermilk scones with a creamy rasperberry curd and a chocolate, rhubarb, & marshmallow rocky road to keep your coffee company. The menu will over the coming weeks be introducing a few gradual changes which will be completed in about six weeks.
If not in the mood for fine dining, downstairs at The Red Door, the impressive cocktail list has a none too shabby bar menu to be enjoyed in a sumptuous subterranean interior. Many of the liqueurs, bitters and syrups are prepared onsite so the cocktails are out of the ordinary. The waiters are more than happy to share how the mixers are prepared and you can even see them on display in a glass cabinet.
Foveaux is an ideal spot if you actually want to converse with friends and family. Many couples are seen dining here, and as this part of Surry Hills tends to get quiet, you are comfortably able to find parking.  It is also a stone's throw from Central Station but none of its convenience can be outdone by the pride and care evident in its menu.  If you wish to flee the madding crowd that occupies Crown Street, definitely give Fouveaux a go.

1/65-67 Foveaux Street, Surry Hills NSW 2010
(02) 9211 0664 ‎ · foveaux.com.au