On the Sunday evening that the 2014 Eat Drink Blog Conference concluded, Rachi, Libby and I dined at Aria in Brisbane. Aria’s been on my wishlist for a while and it would be an understatement to say I was excited to finally experience it.
When we arrived, we were the first in the restaurant and we were offered a complimentary champagne cocktail, which was similar to a kir royale. While we perused the menu, we chatted and took in the view from our table.
Our table of three opted to experience the four course ($125) chef’s tasting menu. The evening kicked off with the amuse-bouche – squid ink and prawn cracker with chickpea purée and chorizo crisp. This bite-sized morsel was pretty as a picture and was the perfect way to start our evening.
The scorched king salmon with celery, radish, puffed rice and yuzukosho arrived shortly after and for me, this was the highlight of the evening. The king salmon was very generous in size and lightly scorched, giving the salmon a beautiful flavour. The bed of salad was simple but incredibly flavoursome and I loved the addition of the crunchy puffed rice.
The next dish was the twice-cooked sweet pork belly with bacon, mustard relish, nashi pear and palm hearts. I found that the sweet pork belly was slightly dry, however the addition of the nashi pear and mustard relish added moisture to the dish. The flavour of the pork was fantastic with the sweetness and savoury, salty bacon matching perfectly.
The smoked wagyu brisket with beetroot and horseradish and jus gras was fantastic. The meat was tender and lightly seasoned, with the beetroot, horseradish and house-made smoked hickory sauce adding various strong flavours to the dish. Delicious.
When I initially looked at the chef’s tasting menu, I wasn’t overly keen on trying the selected dessert, simply named ‘Pineapple’. However, it was a fantastic way to end the evening and consisted of blueberry poached pineapple with coconut sorbet and toasted meringue. It was a simple concept but had amble flavour. The pineapple wasn’t overpowering (which is good seeing as though it’s possibly my least favourite fruit) and the coconut sorbet was definitely the highlight. The meringue added texture and crunch, and overall it was a perfect dish.
Our evening ended with green tea and petits fours. I thought that the four course menu was the perfect way to experience Aria without over indulging. I left with a little box of macarons, which I took back to Canberra the next day to share with A.
When I return to Brisbane, I will definitely return to Aria.