Monday, January 7, 2013

Ananas Bar and Brasserie: Pineapples ain't pineapples

I fell for Ananas in its first week of opening - the very first time I had late night cocktails in its long L-shaped bar, complete with a fresh seafood bar and pineapple lamps and features everywhere.

Post a glorious, multi-million-dollar fitout of what I vaguely remember to be a nightclub space above Lowenbrau, Ananas now serves as the French brasserie of the Urban Purveyor Group's restaurant portfolio, which includes Sake, The Cut, Bavarian Bier Cafés and of course, The Argyle.

Sydney rock and Pacific oysters at Brasserie Ananas, Argyle Street, The Rocks, Sydney
Take an early right up the stairs from the cobblestoned Argyle entrance to enter Ananas, French for pineapple. The detailed interiors are glamorously decadent and sumptuous, and any seat at the bar is guaranteed a prettily decorated view.

Chef James Privett, previously of The Cut, now heads up the brasserie kitchen, while there are plenty of Gallic accents to be heard on the floor.

We started with complimentary bread and butter, and our appetiser order of a dozen natural oysters of both Sydney rock and Pacific varieties.

Shucked to order, they're served with a vinaigrette and another sauce although the minerally Sydney rocks need nothing but a squeeze of lemon and are best had with champagne, the very drinkable Marc 'Initiale' Brut.

Lobster and scallop carpaccio, yuzu truffle dressing
Aside from the fresh oysters, the entrée menu is features an abundance of produce from the seafood bar. Coming in as the most expensive entrée (indeed, on par with some of the mains), the lobster and scallop carpaccio was a downright luxurious choice, garnished with black truffle.

Delicately thin slices of poached lobster tail and raw scallop covered the plate, in turn covered with microherbs, and a light dressing of mild truffle, yuzu and olive oil. The textures are delightful and I'd highly recommended the dish if its pricing doesn't cause pain.

Alaskan crab, avocado
The Alaskan crab entrée is a little more generous, with a round of picked crab meat (minimal shell) beneath a liberal piping of a creamy avocado mix which detracts just a little from the subtle crab flavour.

Lobster ravioli, garlic puree
In another lobster menu appearance, the ravioli entrée comprised four fresh rounds of pasta filled with a fine dice of lobster that was rather overwhelmed by the accompanying veal jus and garlic puree.

Beef sirloin with pomme puree and caramelised onions
The mains menu is decidedly more traditional than the entrées: straight French brasserie dishes, mostly on the heavy and rich side. While most dishes feature a vegetable of some sort, I'd suggest a couple of side dishes still as the mains are quite protein-heavy.

The roasted beef sirloin was nice and pink inside its dark crust, served on a pool of buttery potato puree with cooked down onions and jus.

Whole grilled flounder with lemon, capers, butter and pomme puree
I went with the whole grilled flounder in hoping it would be a lighter dish, but the strong buttery smell on its arrival dashed those hopes. Covered in baby capers and butter, the squeeze of lemon did its brave best to counter the richness, not helped by the creamy pomme puree.

While flounder is one of the easier fish to eat bones and all, eating the whole fish was made more difficult when just after our mains were delivered the already moderate lighting was dimmed further, making it completely impossible for me to see any bones. A request to un-dim the lights was denied so I had a quiet, conversation-light dinner as I sorted flesh from bone by mouth feel.

Beef cheek bourguignon, cremolata, carrot vichy
The third main of our order was the bourguigon beef cheek, braised for many hours to attain its fall-apart texture and sweet depth in flavour. Three baby carrots accompanied this hunk of cow cheek, and a sprinkle of parsley cremolata.

We had to add a side dish once we'd realised our lack of vegetables and greenery, although I wouldn't spruik the spinach which basically comes as wilted leaves without a great deal of seasoning.

Pineapple ravioli
Dessert presented a few tempting options to linger in the dark. The namesake pineapple ravioli looked a little retro in presentation, with thins of pineapple covering the plate carpaccio style.

The ravioli itself held a filling of berries and a sauce became of the pina colada sorbet. I loved the dehydrated pineapple garnish but was a little more distracted with another sweet offering.

Snickers 2012
Things certainly ended on a higher note, having being directed towards the Snickers dessert by someone in the know.

The shiny tempered tube of chocolate was filled with a creamy mousse, caramel and peanuts - and was a pretty spot-on, pimped up rendition of a Snickers chocolate bar. The nutty ice cream on the side wasn't as sweet as the chocolate construction, so did well as a diversion from chocolate and caramel overload.

Like pineapples which can be so good when they're sweet and ripe and just not when they're not ripe enough, Ananas has its hits and misses as it goes through a dynamic period of finding its feet and ripening.

Brasserie Ananas on Urbanspoon


Tina @ bitemeshowme said...

What a shame it had its hit and misses, because really, everything looks straight out delicious. Still drooling over that lobster and scallop carpaccio

JB said...

That's a bit silly. How do they expect one debone a fish a in the dark? Lame.
At least the other dishes were good!

Vivian - vxdollface said...

surprised they denied your request since de-boning a fish is quite a task in dim lighting :/ the entrees definitely sounded more intriguing when i looked at their menu

gaby @ lateraleating said...

From the name itself (anana is also pineapple in some versions of Spanish, for example in Argentina) I was expecting a tropical casual dining restaurant :) All the seafood looks awesome.

Jacq said...

The food looks good but it's disappointing that they declined to turn up the lights a bit, or even give you some form of lighting so you could eat your food properly!

Sherrie @ Crystal Noir said...

The seafood dishes really do look delicious though - especially the lobster ravioli!

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

Hehe we had many of the same dishes here! It is quite dark and I think come 7:30pm they really turn down the lights.

Unknown said...

Shame about the lighting esp because those desserts and in particular that pineapple ravioli look so so so sexy.

Gourmet Getaways said...

Everything looks so deliciously different, a boozy high tea is certainly something I would like to try.

Tina said...

Hi Tina - That was excellent, for sure!

Hi JB - Yeah, I was pretty shocked when the lights dimmed...

Hi Vivian - Yup, I should have just had two entrees for my meal; would have saved me the bone troubles.

Hi gaby - The interiors are gorgeouly, pinepple-y ;)

Hi Jacq - In hindsight, I should have pulled out an iPad for lighting or something...

Hi Sherrie - The carpaccio was better! ;)

Hi Lorraine - There must be two set dimming times...

Hi Shanshan - It was all about the Snickers for me - one of the best desserts I've had for a while!


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