While there's window shopping aplenty in the international boutique clothes and accessories store, any preconceived thoughts of stuffy fine dining in the restaurant go right out the window.
|Amuse bouche: Olive cake with capsicum jelly and bonito cream at |
Cara&Co Restaurant, Level 4, Westfield Sydney
For example, our first amuse bouche was a tiny pudding-like black olive cake, topped with a disc of red capsicum jelly, bonito cream and olive crumbs. I was transported to the Mediterranean with the one mouthful of explosive and well-considered flavours – and we'd barely started the meal.
The waiters have my full attention every time they describe the components of dishes which have technique and imagination written all over them – as do the hand towels.
Even if they initially look like large mints on the table, don’t pop these in your mouth. The compressed and scented hand towels grow into little towers with a light watering by the waitstaff, and set the scene for the innovative and creative meal to be had.
|Sour Puss cocktail|
|Amuse bouche: Tapioca cracker with rocket puree and mushroom|
The match with green rocket puree and a tiny half of a pickled mushroom was ingeniously fun and surprisingly well balanced – I could even imagine a pack of these crackers and a bowl of the puree as a snack in front of the television.
|Complimentary bread and butter|
|Rump Kissed by the Sea|
It features in the wagyu rump steak entrée, which borders on a main serving size. Served as a pretty, tumbled array, the medium-rare beef showcases sous vide done well, with plenty of wagyu bacon along with sea urchin, grilled fennel, creamy potato puree and 'egg yolks' of a sweet, fruity sauce oozing out of pickled onion rings.
|Scampi Grapefruit Rhapsody No. 1|
It's served with creamy and cheesy flavour matches in the circles of parmesan custard, blobs of cardamom cream and parmesan crisps.
The strongly flavoured custard was the surprise match with the scampi, while the cherry tomatoes added sweetness and acidity. The strong cardamom flavours rather overpowered the delicate shellfish, but were easy enough to avoid.
|Ten Peas in a Soup|
The fresh peas were contained what turned out to be rounds of apple that added sweetness and texture to the chilled soup, while the mint refreshed the palate.
|Behind the Iron Curtain almond soup|
|Glass of 2010 Schild Estate shiraz|
The Schild Estate shiraz was a great, mature match to the rich beef main while a lighter 2008 Yarraloch cabernet sauvignon was divinely berry-rich to match the lamb main.
|Jus being poured on When Bull Meets Goose|
Rounds of white onion, assorted mushrooms and I think, an artichoke puree danced around the bull and goose in pretty neutrals while the juicily pink tenderloin was beefed up with veal jus.
|When Bull Meets Goose|
|A Lamb's Neck of the Woods|
|A Lamb's Neck of the Woods|
|Frutti di Bosca in the Tropics|
|Petit fours (clockwise from back): Tonka bean madeleines, passionfruit and white |
chocolate lollipop, and lemon verbena and violet marshmallows
Firstly, fluffy, sweet clouds of marshmallow in two-toned blocks of lemon verbena and violet. Then my favourite, a white chocolate lollipop with a liquid passionfruit filling that exploded in the mouth into a sublime moment.
And to finish, their trademark tonka bean madeleines which were toasty warm with crisp, golden surfaces.
|The Cara&Co dining room|
Cara&Co really is something special: while the creativity of some dishes at can be overwhelming, the flavours are always there to back up a dish. There's always a place for a flavour of creativity in Sydney dining.
Food, booze and shoes dined as a guest of Cara&Co.