Saturday, August 21, 2010

Rise Restaurant - Darlinghurst

Thanks to Not Quite Nigella, I found out I had actually won dinner for 2 at Rise as well as my aeroclock from the Iron Chef dinner. I rope a friend into using the voucher with me before it expired. The plan was to have dinner and then go visit his brother, who's dogs just had a huge litter of puppies!

Dinner was booked for 6:30pm, but we were early and arrived just before 6:15pm. Walking in, we find the entire restaurant empty. I didn't think we were THAT early, but the waiter explained that a table of 20 cancelled earlier in the week. I would expect the place to be quite cosy and buzzing with chatty diners when busy, but on this night, it was stark, cold and bare. This also meant we were the only table the waiter was waiting on. Actually, the only table the TWO waiters were waiting on. Whilst some would describe the service as friendly, I would say too friendly. I basically wanted to sit down and have a nice conversation with my friend, I found that half of my time was spent talking to the waiter who basically hung around our table. Luckily, after an hour, another table shows up and helps to divert a bit of the attention.

As for the food, Rise previously offered an a la carte menu, but has switched to tasting menu only. I guess that makes it easier as we don't have decide on what to eat.

First course - Salmon tartare with poached quail egg & gochujang miso sauce

Oh my....this is good. I can never go past good sashimi, but this was particularly good as it was coated in spicy miso sauce. I devoured every last bit of this whilst my friend left half on the plate. Not because it didn't taste good, but because it was so hot, his mouth was on fire! Mind you, my friend reckons black pepper is hot, so this was atomic by his standards. I found the dish quite mild ;)

When the waiter came to collect our plates, we requested that my friend gets a toned down version of anything remotely spicier than pepper!

Soup - Tom Yum style soup with scallop tortellini and mussel

Luckily this was a tom yum style soup, and not actual tom yum soup, so the spice was toned down for my friend. Still too much for him to handle and he left half the soup behind. But he did devour the seafood and both of us rate the scallop tortellini as "Friggin good!!". Now if I can just get a huge bowl of the tortellini...

Sashimi - Assorted fresh market sashimi

We were presented with oysters and four types of sashimi. King fish, salmon, tuna and I can't remember what the other one was. Each sashimi was seasoned differently to compliment the type of fish it was. This was my friend's first taste of sashimi (First course didn't count, he couldn't taste a thing beyond spice!) and he actually enjoyed it. He only had half of the sashimi as the raw texture eventually got to him, so that just meant more for me!

Seasonal plate

Soy milk flan with shiitake sauce

Rice paper roll of steamed chicken baton, avocado, cucumber & sesame miso sauce

Fish cake with daikon & wakame salad

The Soy milk flan is basically a chawamushi. Silky soft and delicate, I woofed this down. The rice paper roll was fairly bland, especially compared to the previous courses we had. The fish cake was tasty, and the crunch was a welcome change in texture after all the sashimi we had.

Pasta dish - Soba salad with soft shell crab and ponzu vinaigrette

Not sure where the salad bit comes in. It was basically soba with a bit of sauce and a soft shell crab on-top. The soft shell crab was fantastically crispy, but doesn't really fit in with the soba.

Main Course - Roasted duck breast served with polenta, mushroom croquette and red curry sauce

My friend had his red curry sauce served on the side, but turns out it was very mild anyway. The duck was tender and juicy and oh-so-moreish. I just wish I had more sauce to go with it. On top of the main course, you're served a bowl of rice and miso soup, just in case you're still hungry. But by this stage, we're both stuffed like a turkey. But I do wonder.....where was the polenta!?


Dessert was a almond cream with latte sorbet, and passion fruit cream with a lime and lemon grass sorbet. We both started with the almond cream and it was gooooood. Creamy and velvety and went fantastic with the latte sorbet. I decided to try the passion fruit cream and was in HEAVEN! I moaned something to my friend about trying the passion fruit and continued to stuff my face. He digs into the passion fruit and gives me a "What are you on about??" look. And then he moans. Out loud.

"I just hit the cream......"

It was an embarrassing display of emotion, but I didn't care. I wanted to enjoy every blissful bite!

We're offered tea and coffee, but we're just too full to eat another bite.

If we had to actually pay for this meal, I would happily hand over $65 for the 7 course degustation! If you go on Tuesday, Wednesday or Sunday, the meal will only cost you $48. Speaking to the staff, the main difference is that you don't get miso soup, and you get a little less sashimi for $48. Still fantastic value if you ask me!

Rise Restaurant
23 Craigend St
Ph: (02) 9357 1755

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