Bentley Redux

320 Crown Street

www.thebentley.com.au

I came here when I first arrived in Sydney about 3 months ago and had an excellent lunch. A wide variety of interesting dishes, showing good skill & verve.

Last Friday after a couple of martinis around the corner we decided to venture here. We were not in the mood for a formal meal so decided to sit at the bar and tuck into the tapas menu. Expectations were high and what followed was one of those really disappointing meals.

I had seen Brent Savage cook with Sergi Arola at the World Chef Showcase and when the discussion turned to the philosophy of tapas, Sergi’s view was one of keeping it natural since it the kind of cuisine which happens when you’re with friends.

At least it can be said that the tapas here was a talking point.

 

 Sydney Oct 030

We started with white anchovies on a stick with pistachio praline. Interesting texture, but the sharpness of the anchovy clanged against the nuttiness of the praline. This was accompanied by the house signature dish of parmesan custard & truffled asparagus.

I wanted to like this, making enthusiastic noises to my wife, but the custard was bland and the truffled asparagus killed the flavour, just making it a bit urgh…

 

Sydney Oct 031

The evening was briefly rescued by a palatable cod & potato ‘mousse’ with crostini. It had a pleasant smooth blandness which went well with the wine we were drinking.

 

Sydney Oct 032

After a slow cooked egg with almond crunch came the dish which proved the main talking point of the evening – spiced chicken with aioli. Sounds enticing doesn’t it? You imagine grilled/roasted pieces of succulent chicken. We got a plate of batter with tiny chicken pieces. I can imagine a chef trying this method out deep-frying tiny bits of chicken, but they clearly didn’t try to eat a whole/half dish of it. It was OK for a couple of forkfuls, but it looked so unappealing and as soon as you start thinking of batter, you feel queasy….

 

Sydney Oct 033

For the ‘main course’ we had pressed lamb shoulder with tagine sauce. It was a fine dish – well cooked, soft, fibrous accompanied with a good sauce. We had to order the famous chickpea chips, which were again OK, but a bit too mealy to finish them all.

 

Having been here before and had a very good meal I purposefully ordered dishes I hadn’t had before and may have been guilty of ordering from the 2nd tier. Having said that Bentley has made its name on innovative tapas and most of the dishes were really poor.

Having said that I can see myself coming back for the main menu, but will give the tapas menu a wide berth.

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