Sunday, November 15, 2009

Restaurant Atelier - Glebe

Restaurant Atelier

A degustation at the small cozy Restaurant Atelier was the destination decided upon for our post-masters celebratory dinner. Offering 7-course degustations "tailored" to each group of customers for $80 per person ($50 extra for matching wines), the friendly staff were happy to accommodate alternate dishes for our non-fish and vegetarian friends.

The restaurant is quite small as after fitting our crew of almost 20, the restaurant could only accommodate a few more tables of customers. However, the atmosphere was awesome, giving off a dimly-lit, cozy romantic feel.

After seated, we were offered sourdough bread with an anchovie tapenade, balsamic olive oil and Echire butter. Many ooo's and ahhh's were heard about the tapenade and the balsamic olive oil with one friend even wanting to take the oil away. The bread was also warm, soft and pleasant to eat.

Sourdough Bread with anchovie Tapenade, Olive oil & Balsamic, and Echire Butter

The first course of the day was a prosciutto with fig sorbet. Hiding under the prosciutto was a green fig and sitting pretty on the top is a yummy breadstick. My tastebuds did not agree much with this course. I loved the bread stick - it was crunchy and lightly salty - but other than this, the dish was overall extremely sweet. Almost sickening so. I guess it's partly my bias though. My company seemed to devour this and so I guess, if you like the taste of fig, you will like this. In my opinion, the cold fig sorbet's sweet aura soaked through the prosciutto, overpowering the saltiness of the cured ham. As such, even without touching the green fig underneath, the whole dish was super fig-tasting.

Fig sorbet, prosciutto and green fig

The second dish suited my taste-buds much much more. This was a perfectly seared scallop with a 'Pot-au-Feu' veal terrine topped with asparagus and sprouts. The scallop and the terrine was separated by a chive crisp and nicely touched and decorated with a summer truffle and rosemary oil. The scallop tasted heavenly - lightly salted, not too raw, not overcooked. Mmm... YUM. The terrine was more interesting, consisting of cubes of veal and some green stuff ... but feel and texture was all quite separated and slightly disjointed - falling apart mostly. It tasted alright though I guess. And lastly, the chive crisp was lovely. Not exactly snap crunchy but flavoursome nonetheless.

Seared Scallops with a ‘Pot-au-Feu’ Terrine, Chive Crisp & a Summer Truffle & Rosemary

The next course was the marron tail. This was easily the best dish of the night. The marron tail was fresh - one bite into it and the lightly peppery seafoody juices just fill your mouth. This marron tail was accompaned with foie gras mousse which was light and fluffy, and a fresh pea salad and a pea and ham sorbet. The pea and ham sorbet was very OMG. Sooo much better than the fig sorbet, this one was fresh, savoury, cold and complemented the pea salad and the marron tail perfectly. Mmm... I would want more of this. The pea salad, lettuce piece and the deep-fried bacon crisp added the crispy texture element which complemented the moussey, melt-in mouth foie gras and sorbet very well. If this was the only dish of the night - this restaurant would get a 10 out of 10.

West Australian Marron Tail, Foie Gras Mousse, Fresh Pea Salad & Pea & Ham Ice Cream

Another dish that should have, but didn't hit the spot for me was the poached john dory fillets. The fish was definately not cooked right for everyone. A somewhat offputting fishy seafoody smell met my nose from a few seats down long before my fish settled in front of me. Luckily, my fish didn't smell bad. But it didn't taste good either LOL. The fish appeared not very fresh and hence, over-peppered. The poached nature ought to have given the fish a fall off the fork feel - but it was dissappointingly tough. The red piquillo pepper puree was nothing special, nor was the confit fennel and black olive salad. The olives were not pitted - and most found this deeply annoying. I also thought that putting capers in this salad was a bit out of place. So whilst this dish looked good appearance-wise, it did not meet expectations taste-wise.

Poached Fillets of John Dory, Piquillo Pepper Puree, Confit Fennel & Black Olives

After eating a not-so-appetising seafood dish, almost everyone was craving meat. Luckily, the next course was meat. The cocoa-roasted striploin of venison was served rare - chewy and with a full-on meat taste. The confit baby carrot puree and liquorice-infused sauce was praised by many people. The liquorice-infused sauce accentuated the charcoal feel of the cocoa-roast and bought with it a sweet sweet taste. There were also bits of baby turnip and white asparagus scattered around the plate.

Cocoa-Roasted Striploin of New Zealand Venison, Confit Carrot Puree, Baby Turnips, White Asparagus & a Liquorice-Infused Sauce

Now onto dessert. First up was a tonka bean creme brulee and a chocolate candied raspberry mousse with a poppy-seed flake pastry. I'm not a creme brulee fan but this creme brulee was pretty good. The tonka bean taste was infused throughout the smooth creme brulee and the sugared toffee top was nice and hard. A sign of a good creme brulee. The chocolate mousse was sweet and strongly chocolately. Amazingly, this tasted amazing when eaten with the savoury poppy-seed flaky pastry. Without this flake, the mousse was just ordinary.

Tonka Bean Creme Brulee with chocolate candied raspberry mousse

Last course of the night was served at odd paces. Certain people got his dessert plate long before others. Some thought this was rather unprofessional but perhaps this was because the souffle must be served straight from the oven otherwise it will flop in. The tahitian vanilla and chocolate fudge souffle was served with a malt-infused milkshake and a malt chcoolate ice cream. The how-to-eat instructions for this dessert was to poke a hole in the middle and pour some chocolate milkshake in. The rest of the milkshake can be drunk through the chocolate straw (drink before you eat the straw~!). I'm not a fan of souffles but my partner loved it. This milkshake was also not the best and the chocolate straw tasted somewhat burnt. The malt chocolate icecream was very yummy though. Good sweet end to the night and a good sweet end to 6 years of uni :)

Tahitian Vanilla & Chocolate Fudge Souffle with Malt Chocolate Ice Cream & a Malt-Infused Milkshake

Overall, the staff were friendly and attentive. They left us alone when we were roudy and they readily appeared and took our orders when we needed drinks. This dimly lit restaurant would be great for a small dinner party, or just a cozy dinner with your other half. But I guess if you were purely going for food, other restaurants would probably be a better pick.

Food- 7.5/10

Service - 8/10

Ambiance - 9/10

Value for money - 7.5/10

Overall - 32/40

Restaurant Atelier
22 Glebe Point Rd

NSW 2037
(02) 9566 2112

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