Tuesday, November 10, 2009


529 Kent Street, Sydney
P: 02 9267 2900

I'd been looking forward to this since mid-June... yes folks, I "did" Tetsuya's! I'm going to try REALLY hard not to gush during this post, but please excuse me if I do get a little carried away. This was an amazing meal, and a fabulous experience.

When R and M came down to Melbourne in June for my birthday we decided to go to Tetsuya's for dinner. When R rang up the earliest dinner vacancy on a weekend was, well, a long way off. Instead we settled on lunch, which happened in mid-October. You can find the menu we had (unless it's since changed). Oh wow. A four-hour food-fest, with offerings that barely ever dipped below absolutely fabulous.

The meal was kick-started with a chilled sweet corn soup with saffron and vanilla ice cream. This was fan-fucking-tabulous. Sweet and smooth and a brilliant way to prepare my taste-buds for what was to come.

The smoked ocean trout with Avruga caviar was equally delicious. Until a few years ago I didn't eat any seafood whatsoever, so the past six or seven years I've been getting progressively more adventurous, sampling first a few different types of fish, then moving to sashimi, and finally caviar-ish type things, usually the big bright orange salmon type. This was my first experience of the "black stuff", and I wasn't disappointed. In fact, I chased the last few little balls around my plate to make sure I got them all. That yellow you glimpse under the caviar is a perfectly cooked egg yolk. Oh man...

I believe at this point some oysters were brought out for R and M (which I didn't try, as I just can't handle oysters). They were served in the shell with a lime vinaigrette and were, apparently, brilliant. I completely forgot to take a picture!

I wasn't sure how, or if, I'd like the marinated Crystal Bay prawn, as I really don't like the texture of prawns. This was so delicious, though, that I scoffed the lot (I just didn't chew much, thereby avoiding much of the texture problem. That's not as gluttonous as it sounds, as I cut it up into smaller pieces instead of going the one big one!). I believe the yellow pffft of stuff on the bottom was a cheese-y type flavour, but I may be remembering incorrectly (R, M, can you remember for sure? The menu on the website mentions soy caramel, but I don't know...).

And so to Tetsuya's signature dish. And it's called that with damned good reason. The confit of Petuna Tasmanian ocean trout with konbu, shredded apple and daikon, with wasabi and seasonal green salad was just... I'm trying to come up with a descriptor that I haven't used already, and not having much luck. I'm also trying to think of one that adequately conveys how damned good this was. I guess I'm kinda speechless. What does that tell you?

If there was a low point in the meal, this was probably it. I think it tells you a lot when I say that, even so, it was pretty good. It's just that, compared to what came before and after, it didn't quite deliver. The terrine of Queensland spanner crab with an avocado mousse-type puddle was quite nice, but not really something I'd go out of my way to eat again.

The minor dip was quickly forgotten when the grilled fillet of barramundi with braised baby fennel arrived. Seriously, I think I should give up trying to tell you how good each of these servings were. Despite starting to feel a bit full by now, we all finished this one eagerly, and I have to tell you it was, well, great! Delicious!

I don't think I've ever eaten spatchcock. And I still don't think I have... the menu says this course was spatchcock, but R has reminded me that this was actually duck. Either way, except for the green stuff, this was great (or insert other word meaning really really really nice here).

The final "main" meal differed from the menu currently on the website, as did the remainder of the meal, so you'll have to forgive me if I can't say as much about the following dishes, other than "yum". This was a veal (?) fillet, cooked to perfection. I'm afraid my memory has failed me on the rest of the details. Dammit. I need to start paying more attention. And bringing a notebook. And doing my blog posts sooner after the event....

The transition dish between mains and the desserts was, well, interesting. I wasn't quite sure what to expect, but cannellini beans with sweet toffee-ish accompanying flavours was surprisingly tasty. Actually, one little spoonful was almost too much of a tease. I think I might have run my finger over my spoon to try and get a little more of the sauce.

Oh yes, I did, I can just spy my finger-wipe mark :-)

First of the desserts was actually an offering of two at once - a pineapple sorbet that was very nice (although not quite to my taste), and something that resembled a creme caramel, but was in fact chai-flavoured. Different! But still good.

Oh god... a couple of the pictures I've posted here have the power to make me drool just by looking at them again, and this is one of them. To be funny I took this picture with another one just peeking through in the background but... funny thing happened. After I finished my first glass of wine (a couple of courses previously to this one), when I ordered another I also asked for a new glass as there were a couple of tiny pieces of cork in my current one. Our waiter apologised, then got me a fresh glass, and also opened a fresh bottle for me. Now THAT is service, and making someone feel special. Anyway, I'm not sure if that had any bearing on what happened after we'd finished our poached summer berries Tetsuya-style or not.

These oh-my-god-that-is-so-good-i-could-die-happy-right-now glasses had a slick of vanilla custard-type something on the bottom, then the poached berries, with a dollop of light-as-air white chocolate mousse on top. When our waiter came to take them away, I laughed and said "wow, if there are any of these out the back that no-one wants, we'll take them off your hands!"He laughed and replied "no! They're the ones I eat!" I like it when people can have a bit of a joke. Well.... a few minutes later another round of these babies were put in front of us :-D And y'know what? They were just as good the second time around!

I have to admit, I was getting seriously full by now, and don't have much memory of this dish at all, except that the strip of stuff poking up was crunchy... and it was chocolate-y... I'm sorry! There's a memory flitting around the edges of my mind but I can't quite grab it... R? M? Can you help me out?

Coffee and tea were served with these babies... a sweet little sponge, a chocolate macaron, and a square of green tea marshmallow. Wunderbar! Sooooooooooooo good.

Many thanks must go to R for making the booking, and for buying me my very own copy of Tetsuya's cookbook, and one for herself. Our kindly, generous waiter also included a jar each of truffle salsa.

I can't afford to eat at Tet's often, but I'd really love to make the trip to Sydney for it once a year. Oh yeah.



Annette said...

Holy crap!!! I've not long finished breakfast, but every single one of those photos has made me HUNGRY again. Mmmmm.....

Agnes said...

Oh, envious! What an amazing meal. :)

Rosemary said...

For the crystal bay prawn - Soy caramel sounds about right. I'm remembering a sweet flavour...I think it also had some foie gras involved, which was probably the cheesy flavour you remember.

We had the spanner crab dish when we went for our wedding anniversary last year and I must say it has greatly improved in flavour and consistency. I could actually taste the fresh crab this time. Still, the texture of the whole dish is a little bit off, it needs to evolve a little bit more I think.

I'm pretty sure the spatchcock was actually duck, no foie gras :( It was served on very bitter raddicio...and I think there was a beetroot puree of a sort in there as well, I remember looking at the plates afterwards thinking the colour reminded me of some of the lipsticks my mum wore in the 80s ;)

I'm pretty sure you're right about the veal. It had a wasabi butter on top and was sitting on top of "adult" spinach...we talked about the texture compared to baby spinach. I think it worked, it had a nice meaty mouth-feel to it.

I can't quite remember what the chocolatey thing was - it had a crispy crunchy chocolate/coffee flavoured thing on top, and the bit it was embedded in was chocolate, but not the standard ice cream consistancy...more like a ganache? The sauce puddle was vanilla flavoured I think. Damn. Notebook needed next time for sure!

So, shall I book us in for next year? ;)

Anna said...

Aahhh, thanks Rosemary! And yes, definitely book us in for another visit next year - I'm there!

And better prepared next time, too :)