1 Macquarie Street, East Circular Quay, Sydney NSW 2000
Good service and food
This will be my only chance to enjoy a SIFF Let's Do Lunch this year due to running out of available time so I'm glad I managed to book a table of 12 early in the month before work got too hectic to escape for a special lunch. My first choice was actually Quay Restaurant but it had already booked out for the whole month just after the SMH had released their program — well done to anyone that made it there, hope it was good. I was actually quite hesitant in booking Aria because I've had 2 unimpressive Let's Do Lunch experiences a few years ago. One time our table of 8 waited for nearly an hour before our mains arrived, it was ridiculous, and because of it some people actually had to head back to work because they run out of time. They brought us complimentary truffled mash to try and keep us from starvation — not sure what was happening in the kitchen that day. On both occasions I felt uneasy with the service which I found a bit snobbish which unfortunately seems to happen in many fine dining establishments — why do some waiters treat you like a second class citizen and make you feel so unwelcome and an inconvenience?
Today was a different story, our service when arriving and being seated was welcoming and friendly enough and also during the dining service. I even remember when booking the 12 noon reservation via phone that the woman taking the booking had a pleasant phone manner — perhaps going from 2 hats to 1 hat in the 2004 SMH Good Food Awards did make a difference and made them a better restaurant. The amuse-bouche was a delightful start to the taste buds. Everyone was pretty happy with their main of Roasted Fillet of Barramundi which was cooked the way you'd expect with crispy skin and moist flesh. The table shared a few side dishes which were popular and in the end was quite a filling meal.
Some of us were tempted by the petit fours to have with our coffee which they enjoyed but I was more keen for a dessert and thankfully my work colleague I was sharing it with picked the famed chocolate tart that was the final dessert challenge on Masterchef and one that I've noticed a few bloggers like Eat Show and Tell, Leave Room for Dessert and The Informal Foodie have tried to make. The Valrhona Chocolate was a very yummy and satisfying dessert which for $20 I think is great value compared to trying to attempt to make it. I would probably consider dining again for a special occasion and trying other dishes but I'm still not a fan of the limited view you get depending on where you are seated compared to the open plan of Quay Restaurant.
Truffled potato mash $15
Let's Do Lunch menu and side dishes
Table for 12
The dining room view of Sydney Opera House