Ok that’s a lie. I loved it.
As such though, I had great expectations to love it again this time around, because things only get better with age, right? Apart from Germaine Greer.
Sometimes though, setting the bar too high is the perfect way to be disappointed, so there is always a bit of a risk involved with the return visit to a much loved restaurant.
How did Aria’s fare fare this time around? Let’s find out.
For an entrée we tried the Kingfish, Sea Urchin, Parsley and Kolrabi. This was a generously portioned entrée with thick cuts of kingfish proving to feel as tender and succulent as they looked. The sea urchin had a delicate flavour, but a silkier texture to counterbalance the meatiness of the fish. The fine kolrabi had an al dente crunch to it, again providing textural interest to the dish. All of the subtle flavours in this dish were exactly that: subtle. Texture was key to this dish.
From the entrée menu, we also ordered the Smoked Pork Belly, Turnip and Mustard. Smoked is the perfect word to start off this plate’s menu description because the first forkful "wow" smoke factor to it, without it being overpowering. The pork belly was really a delight to eat, offering up some beautiful marinated flavours. Pairing it with the definitively tasting turnip worked beautifully too.
Keeping on with the nautical theme, we also opted for the Snapper, Lettuce, Kombu and White Asparagus. The snapper itself melted in your mouth, and there was some beautiful earthy flavours from the kombu which made this dish really fun and interesting to eat. Each mouthful was an absolute delight.
Our side of Mashed Royal Blue Potato was the among the best mashes we’ve ever had, as to be expected from Aria. It was amazingly creamy, amazingly velvety and just plain amazing really. It made me abashed at my usual three-pronged fork efforts at home.
Being a chocolate fiend, I also couldn’t go past the Chocolate Parfait with Malt Curds and Sherry. This was chocolate decadence at its finest. The parfait was again generously-sized, and just delicious. For the malt curds- think the most amazing malteaser ever and triple that expectation. Just wow. Little blobs of jellified-sherry added an awesome richness to the dish.
Just as a complimentary palate cleanser of Fig, Goat’s Chevre and Puffed Buckwheat started our meal, some surprise Petit Fours rounded off the meal. And yes, we were here for a birthday celebration, otherwise that writing on the plate would be somewhat odd. As such though, it was a lovely touch.
The restaurant is still alive and well right now though, and it’s well-worth a visit in its now finite days in this location.
I might have to find more people's birthdays to celebrate here in the next couple of years. Or maybe I'll just celebrate Thursdays.