It's Mr P's Birthday and I suggested to go somewhere nice for dinner to celebrate. He mentioned a decent restaurant around our area in Central Coast where they offering a 5 course degustation menu for $100 pp. I am like, "Are you kidding me?" I scorned in disbelief when I know I can pay a bit more for a 10 course degustation meal at an award-winning restaurants in Sydney.
Birthday is always a perfect excuse for me to suggest a restaurant that I am longing to try. Hence, a table for two at a 2 chef's hats restaurant, runs and owned by the proclaimed GFG 09 Chef of the Year, Justin North, Bécasse it is. Bécasse has also claimed SMH Good Food Guide - Restaurant of the Year 2007. I can't wait to see whether the food live up to its reputations.
Three impressive halo-like chandeliers are oh so angelic, reminds me of the accoustic rings in Sydney Opera House concert hall for sound enhancement purposes, except these will only amplifying the ambient where an orchestra of patrons playing their own tunes with forks and knives. Our waitress carefully explains what is on the Specials, even though our mind already set on the degustation menu.
I was actually ready for a bit of snail action when I had a look at their degustation menu on their website. To my dismay, they have changed the courses, and snails are no where to be found and replaced with Wagyu Beef which supposedly to be a one of the mains. We didn't go for the matching wine, instead we have chosen the 2005 Bernard Baudry Chinon Les Granges which is fruity, an easy drinking wine.
Two bite size Canapé welcomes us with a nice mouthful of puffy pastry with marinated tomato, topped with lemon mascarpone and fried basil. The buttery puffy pastry just melt in my mouth and goes so well with the sweetness from the tomato and the tangy lemon mascarpone. While we enjoying our little appetizer, 5 pairs of knives and forks each are being laid down in front of us. I am amused as guests next table turning their heads over to see the impressive layout.
An assortment of breads, freshly baked accompanied by the olive oil emulsion with black sea salt are being served to awaken our tastebuds for what lies ahead. The bread is still nice and warm, each slather of the emulsified olive oil will just melt and coated the bread evenly. The dark sourdough is wholesome with a soft center; the rosemary bread is aromatic and cute with a little crusty hat; and my favorite is the herb & garlic, beautifully shaped into a stalk of wheat grain, crusty all the way down.
We start off with the entrée, Amuse Bouche, which is a soup using the seasonal summer vegetable, asparagus velouté with lemon cream. The asparagus soup is rich and smooth with a hint of the buttery velouté. It definitely warms the belly and opens up my appetite.
The salad of asparagus with baby red and golden beetroots is sheer beauty. The beetroots are juicy and sweet, and the crunchy hazelnut crostini crumbles as soon as the fork touches the plate. We found ourselves picking up the crostini with our fingers.
The fish dish is consists of citrus marinated ocean trout with pickled cucumber and sherry Chantilly. The dish is cute with little salad sprouting around the trout. The sweetness of the chantilly pairs so well with the acidic slow cooked ocean trout. The ocean trout is warm at room temperature, so tender and full of flavour. This is how I like it.
The waitress comes with the next course and politely informed us there is a change in the menu, where the steamed courgette is now stuffed with scallop. (Oh how wonderful!!!) The courgette is nicely tucked under a river of squid ink noodles, with aromatic lemon verbena mousse floating around the clear glass plate. It is almost too beautiful to be eaten. The scallop inside the courgette is a nice surprise, but only wish is a fresh whole scallop instead of steamed minced scallop.
At this point, the waitress swiftly places two more pairs of knives and forks at our table as we are almost well used up all of them except the big one for main later on.
Oh the holy Wagyu beef! This is the first time I had air-dried salted Wagyu beef bresaola, which unfortunately has taken away all the characteristic of a nice piece of wagyu. The smoked oyster is fresh with brine, but also we soon agreed that it is overpowering and becomes the hero of the dish instead of the wagyu. Shame I would love to have my wagyu beef as main, medium rare.
Then comes the Terrine du pays Basque with mulled cider gel and smoked apple reserve. I love a nice slice of terrine, especially with all the fatty goodness which Mr P thinks is bit greasy for his liking. It goes so so so well with the smoked apple preserve, and suddenly feels like Christmas is just around the corner with this combination.
As for the main, Mr P has chosen the roast loin of Kurobuta pork with stuffed trotter, served with Savoy cabbage, olive oil potato puree and Modena jus. P is rather focussed on his pork, and didn't jot down any mental note of the dish. (tsk! tsk! Tsk!) I steal a bite of the stuffed trotter which is rich and creamy, however I actually can't figure out what is inside. It is tasty nevertheless.
I have chosen the slow cooked salt bush lamb. It is definitely slow cooked at its best, the lamb just tears apart at the slight sway of my fork. The tender lamb soaked up the Earl Grey tea vinaigrette perfectly harmonised with the velvety smooth white onion puree which is subtle in taste.
Orange mousseline with buttermilk granita, a generous portion of pre-dessert palate cleanser before the final curtain calls. Nice and tangy, with the refreshing touch. How much I wish I could have a whole glass of those buttermilk granita. I am sure licking the plate is an unacceptable behavior.
"Gorgeous~!" I am in awe with the beautiful presentation - the rectangle block of baked caramel custard sits proudly in the centre, sipping up the jus from almond milk sorbet and the Sauternes poached apricots, with sprinkle of toffee brittle on the side, garnished with a little striking purple of viola as the final touch. Perfecto!
The custard is silky smooth and not too jelly-like which I despise. Although the Sauternes liqueur goes so well with the custard, I found the apricot rather stands out alone among them all.
"Ohh! white chocolate!" says Mr P.
"Where?" I asked.
"Underneath the custard!" he replies.
"No... Where?" I am confused and asked again.
"There!" while Mr P lifts up his custard and shows me the layer of white chocolate underneath. Disappointingly there is no white chocolate to be found on my custard.
Not long after, "Ohhh try the toffee! It has a 'zing' to it!" Mr P summoned.
"No, is just caramelised toffee brittle, where's the 'zing'?" I replied in disagreement.
Then I soon realise the "zing" effect is from the little petal of viola on top of the custard. It leaves a tingling sensation in your mouth. I want some more!
Bécasse 204 Clarence Street
P: +61 (0)2 9283 3440
Trading Hours Monday – Friday lunch from 12:00pm – 2:30pmFor the first time, Bécasse is opening on New Years Eve and offering a very special 7 course meal for $150 per person including a glass of Champagne.
Monday – Saturday dinner from 6:00pm – 10:30pm
Also, they will be open on the Christmas Eve offering a festive menu featuring the best of Christmas fare which will be $150 per person.
Booking essential, of course.