Restaurant Atelier

09 Oct
October 9, 2012

Restaurant Atelier has had a lot of positive press, I have read and heard lots of good things.  It has been on my ‘go to’ list for a while, but it was a conversation with a person who reviews for a living that expedited my visit.  When they told me it was where they eat on their ‘nights off’, a booking was promptly made.

Restaurant Atelier is located in the cutest freestanding cottage in Glebe.  An intimate establishment with Head Chef Darren Templeman running the kitchen and his partner Bernie operating front of house like clockwork.

You have a choice of à-la-carte or the seven course degustation, $90 or $145 with matching wines.  On our visit fresh Italian summer truffle is available with our meal, $10 for it to be added to a main meal, or to two dishes if we opt for the degustation.

We decide on the degustation, mine with the truffle option and the matching wines.

There isn’t actually a set degustation menu, your dishes are chef’s choice.  As the night goes on and we listen-in  on our fellow diners, we find out that not all degustations are the same.  When we hear the table next to us is having a rabbit dish, Mac whispers to me ‘wars have started with less’.  Is there such a thing a degustation envy?

I find out during the evening that there is nothing to be envious about as everything that is served to us is outstanding.

A generous serve of Brasserie Bread sourdough with tapenade, extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) & balsamic and Pepe Saya butter is bought to our table to start our meal.  I find this a positive sign of things to come as both Brasserie Bread and Pepe Saya are two of my favourite Sydney-based artisan producers.

The meal starts with an amuse-bouche of a bitternut crisp topped with smoky duck breast.  A lovely crunchy, sweet, smoky and bitter mouthful.  The surprise sweetness comes from the baby peas hidden under the moist smoked duck breast.

Daren’s first choice for our degustation was the bonito.  The bonito is first bamboo salt-cured and then charred.  It is served with a cylinder of red capsicum jelly, black olive, fennel, yuzu gel and coral tenax. All quite strong flavours to pair with the bonito, but they are balanced brilliantly.

I am a fan of beef tartare, if it’s on a menu I tend to order it. Restaurant Atelier’s version uses master Kobe beef Wagyu, served with a crispy fried quail egg, pea, broad beans and asparagus.  At first, I am a little put off as I pick at the beef and it tastes, well, a little ‘beefy’.  I mention this to Mac and he tells me to: ‘try it all together, stop picking at your food’.  He’s right, when I take a decent fork-full with all the components on the plate, it is divine.  They all work magically together and I love how the pea flower makes this meaty dish quite pretty.  I am also impressed by the black olive salt topped quail egg, even though it has been deep fried, the yolk is still runny.   For those home cooks reading this, you know that is not an easy feat with such a small egg.

Next dish is Tasmanian abalone with house-smoked pork jowl, enoki, asparagus, shaved kombu and nasturtium leaves.  All my past experiences with abalone have been in Asian dishes, and I am curious to try it another way.  Piled high on the vivid green nasturtium leaf, again this dish is a delight to the eye. As with the previous dishes, no single component overpowers any of the others.  Even though this dish has a strong Japanese influence the smoked pork jowl dictates the direction of this dish.

Darren surprises us with a bonus course of suckling pig pork belly.  A perfect tender piece of pork, with the lusted after top layer of crackling, is served with foie gras and bread veloute.  It is at this moment I wish I was at home in order to lick the plate.  I wonder if finger smears were noticed on my returned plate? I just had to run my finger along and gather the dollops of the remaining veloute.

Poached fillets of John Dory with mushrooms , potato, celeriac & onions, wilted mache and béarnaise sauce.  My favourite dish of the evening.

Duck or pork are usually my favourite, but Darren’s John Dory wins me over completely.  It is also the first of my dishes served with the fresh truffle.  However, by the end, it isn’t the truffle that I am wanting more of but rather, the béarnaise sauce. A classic sauce done to perfection.

The last of our savoury dishes arrive.  Caramel & Szechuan pepper glazed Grimauld duckling breast and crisp confit leg with sweet & sour baby radish and turnips, plus red elk.  It’s duck, it’s cooked well, it’s pretty on the plate and my second dish with truffle. I’m almost full but I don’t hesitate to dive in.  Another great dish.

We finish with two desserts, the first is chocolate and olive oil delice, raspberry, sheep’s milk yogurt ice cream.  Rich in taste and light in texture, with the enjoyed addition of a sprinkle of vanilla salt.

The final dessert is somewhat of a Restaurant Atelier signature, caramelised pistachio soufflé, vanilla ice cream with a sweet miso milkshake.  There seems to be a version of the souffle, ice cream and miso milkshake on the menu at all times.  It is such a fun dessert.  We are given instructions on how to eat it, make a well in the centre of the souffle, add some ice cream and then pour in a good splurge of the milkshake.  I feel like a little kid playing with their food, and I love it!  On top of the fun it is a truly delicious dessert, oh and it even has a chocolate straw!

I should make mention of my wines that were paired to my dishes.  They were matched perfectly, generous serving, and even a sake was matched to my bonito dish.

Restaurant Atelier is open for dinner Tuesday to Saturday from 6pm.  Fully licensed, with BYO available Tuesday to Friday, $15/bottle.

Sara xxx

Restaurant Atelier
22 Glebe Point Road, Glebe
Ph: +61 (2) 9566 2112
www.restaurantatelier.com.au

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19 replies
  1. Simon Food Favourites says:

    great looking dish presentation :-)
    Simon Food Favourites recently posted..MasterChef LIVE 2012: Food Festival, Moore Park (7 Oct 2012)

    Reply
  2. Miss Piggy says:

    Atelier is one of my favourite places to eat in Sydney. Like you said Darren & Berni are so very friendly and the food is incredible! I like the John Dory as well as his Duck & Pork dishes. Your photos are lovely – really do the food justice.
    Miss Piggy recently posted..Balcony Garden: what’s eating Gilbert Grape?

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  3. Tony Hollingsworth says:

    Great review Sara, every dish has serious WOW value – added to my todo list!

    Reply
  4. Phuoc'n Delicious says:

    Happy anniversary guys! Restaurant atelier is one of the restaurants on the top of my hit list that I want to visit soon. Everything looks amazing and every time I read a review on it, it’s always raving about how good the place it. Need to get here asap!
    Phuoc’n Delicious recently posted..A ghoulish dessert degustation

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  5. vegeTARAian says:

    Such beautiful presentation! I’ve been meaning to go back there, such a warm and welcome experience
    vegeTARAian recently posted..Sweet inspiration

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  6. miss lily says:

    lovely article and pics. Looks nommy and now I want to go.

    Reply
  7. Anna @ The Littlest Anchovy says:

    I have been wanting to try this place for ages. Your review has sealed the deal for me! It’s my birthday this month so I think I know where I want to go for it!

    Reply
  8. Vivian - vxdollface says:

    oh i’ve wanted to dine here for the longest time but i keep forgetting about it when i’m trying to figure out where to go! really love your shots, shows the food beautifully. that beef tartare with that deep fried quail egg looks to die for!

    Reply
  9. Tina @ bitemeshowme says:

    I’ve heard plenty of good things about this place and how it is such great value. The photos look mouth-watering!
    Tina @ bitemeshowme recently posted..Umami Burger, Valli – California USA

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  10. joey@FoodiePop says:

    I haven’t been back for a long time but I adore Atelier and the stellar food, especially now the similar Etch has gone.
    joey@FoodiePop recently posted..Review – Step-A-Side Diner (Cabramatta)

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  11. Detective Chow says:

    Ah, the John Dory. Won me over, too, and fish is definitely not my usual favourite.
    Detective Chow recently posted..Three Blue Ducks, Bronte — or — Dining, religiously

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  12. Nic@diningwithastud says:

    Gorgeous shots Sara :) I havent been but it looks great!
    Nic@diningwithastud recently posted..Coconut Grill and Bar – Phi Phi Island Village Resort & Spa

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  13. Christine @ Cooking Crusade says:

    beautiful photos. i’ve heard nothing but good things about this place and would love a visit!
    Christine @ Cooking Crusade recently posted..Cheat Scones – Only three ingredients!

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  1. [...] are no strangers to dining at Restaurant Atelier , we really do enjoy the food and service.  Even then, this was a hard sell.  After an initial [...]

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