The menu, with matched wines, was about showing diners what chefs like to eat on their days off from the kitchen and unsurprisingly, it featured a lot of my lazy favourites too - just in fancy, fine dining style.
|"Pizza - no half and half, no pineapple!" from the Good Food Month 'Days Off ' menu at Arras, Clarence Street, Sydney|
The idea was to get a bit of every topping onto the cracker like a DIY pizza, although on the crackers that were very much like days-old leftover pizza crust to me, the whole thing tasted a little like Pizza Shapes - another of my lazy favourites.
|Soy and quinoa bread roll with butter and salt|
|"All Day Breakfast"|
Instead, we got an intriguing Seinfeld-esque take on all-day food with a creative and probably pretty healthy cereal mix of puffed wild rices, flavoured with spices and cubes of apple, and dairy in the way of goat's milk crème fraîche.
Eaten delicately with a teaspoon, this was an intriguing and light, sweet-savoury start to the 11-course meal.
Topped with puffed grains of wild black rice, the fish was accompanied by daikon white radish threads, a sheet of soy sauce jelly and the most fantastic puree of sushi rice, gari pickled ginger and a touch of wasabi.
While demonstrating a lot of technique in their separate components, all together it was a deliciously, delightfully and cleverly constructed dish that was much more fine dining than conveyor belt sushi.
|Soup going into the "2-Minute Noodles"|
|"2-Minute Noodles" with Arras seasoning|
The seasoning added a kick to the fatty, flaking salmon which was crisp on the surface while bean sprouts and sliced shallots brought freshness to the dish that usually comes out of a packet.
The prawn was served skewered with a deep fried potato flatbread and a vibrant trio of sauces - cucumber, yoghurt and mint - in a deconstructed raita, with powdered coriander to finish it all off.
Eating the parts and eating the whole, it was a completely whimsical experience and most surprisingly, it was so true to the flavours of a sandwich it had me in happy awe.
|"Parma and a Pot"|
So it was "parma" and a pot of beer; not quite a Melbourne pot but a delicate sampler of Happy Goblin Pale Ale - a fruity brew from northern Sydney.
Served with the thin, pan-fried and crumbed schnitzel was a rather oily potato roesti and a puddle of intense tomato sauce covered with a non-descript circle of bacon jelly, all showered in grated cheese and herbs - by far the fanciest parmy I'll ever have.
|"Steak and CHIP"|
Cracking the thin shell of golden crumb was some of the most fun I've had at dinner in a while, with brown gravy oozing out, perfect for dipping both the chip and medium-rare cooked steak.
|"Burger with the lot"|
Served on a miniature brioche bun, Arras' "burger with the lot" comprised a lot of fun and sugar, starting with a berry jam "tomato sauce" spread on the bun and dripping on the plate.
A dehydrated pineapple thin and passionfruit sorbet "egg yolk" provided the refreshing flavours among a panna cotta "egg white", creme caramel "cheese slice", chocolate praline ganache "meat pattie" and berry jelly "beetroot slice".
It was all too much for this non-sweet tooth after 10 courses, but the sheer fun and creativity made this "burger with the lot" a contender for Sydney's best burger.
|Arras petit fours|
Indeed, so legendary are these petit four offerings that Arras offers them in takeaway boxes; popular with tourists and office secretaries, we're told.
|Arras petit fours|
And with another year's Good Food Month over, we are now racing towards Christmas where, for me at least, a few days off are well overdue.
Food, booze and shoes dined at Arras as a guest of Citibank Dining Program.