Arriving in a bound folder, the extensive pre-theatre menu here (available 5.30pm-7pm) gives you no sense that you’re ‘slumming it’ by dining from a more limited menu selection. In fact, it’s a rather nice way to get reacquainted with this Sydney dining icon. Menus are seasonal and produce-driven, down to naming suppliers (including Joto, my preferred seafood supplier) on the menu. Choosing Three Courses ($89/head) from six or so options can be difficult – like deciding between the familiarity of roast chicken with Gruyere mashed potato dressed up with shavings of Australian black truffle, versus the exotic lure of smoked white sweet potato with fromage blanc and Oscietra caviar. Both dishes are well complimented by the textural 2012 Domaine des Enfants Grenache Blanc/Grenache Gris ($23/glass) from their excellent by-the-glass list. With only a few words to triangulate our tastes, the sommelier teamed toothfish, smoked eggplant and Fremantle octopus with a great 2012 Farr Rising Pinot Noir ($22/glass); and Rangers Valley flank steak – flavour amped by house-made XO sauce – with the pretty, strawberry 2012 Bourgogne Terroir de Tournus Pascal Pauget ($24/glass). Don’t be afraid to ask for their expertise, even if you’re drinking by the glass. And, like the view, Pastry Chef Andrew Honeysett’s black sesame parfait with passionfruit jelly, yuzu and almonds, is both spectacular and memorable.
1 Macquarie Street, East Circular Quay
Ph: (02) 9240 2255 ariarestaurant.com
Modern Australian $$$$