Not to be confused with Aqua, another award-winning restaurant in the Ripple Group of dining establishments, Aqua Dining is accessed via a laneway just before the approach to that other icon, Luna Park. At the farthest end of the restaurant (the open balcony just beyond where we were fortunate to find ourselves seated) you can find yourself almost adjacent to the eyes of the Park's huge grinning facade, a sight which used to terrify me as a young child knowing the only way into the fun was to walk underneath it. Somehow, seeing the eyelashes in profile made the face seem a little less menacing and a touch more nostalgic. Maybe I've finally conquered my fear!
Having to select from an extensive menu, and my fellow diner and I being light eaters on this occasion, I chose two entrees and my dining companion only wanted a main.
Squid Ink Fregalone, Salmoriglio $27
Although I had no idea what the Fregalone or Salmoiglio were at the time I ordered it, (I've since read that the former is a chewy sicilian pasta while the latter is a Southern Italian condiment made of lemon juice, olive oil, minced garlic, chopped oregano and parsley, salt and pepper). All I knew was, the scallops were perfectly seared on the outside and delicately warmed through on the inside. They melted in my mouth and the squid ink Salmoiglio'd Fregalone was a fitting accompaniment. In hindsight, had I known that I was ordering two pastas, I might have thought twice but I'm glad I didn't!
Oven Roasted Barramundi
Truffled Potato Puree, Sugar Snap Peas, Dutch Carrots $37
Seeing my friend's nicely plated and impressively crispy skinned fillet which looked perfectly cooked but moist, I did suffer a little meal envy but good to leave something to return to!
Tuscan Cabbage, Celeriac Puree, Truffled Pecorino $26 (or $35 for a main sized portion)
I was really looking forward to this dish and it showed lots of promise when it arrived but I found the pasta very stiff and I remember wondering whether it was a wholemeal pasta but if so, it wasn't mentioned on the menu. My hindsight thought is that perhaps the porcini had been incorporated directly into the pasta dough, making for a tougher dough.
The rabbit meat was also surprisingly stringy although part of me was pleased that it wasn't pureed to a pulp and it wasn't unpleasantly so.
Then, apart from being a little saltier than my palate prefers, the flavour was quite full-bodied and I loved the combination of flavours. I would be happy to order this dish again.
Sbrisolona Crumble, Lime Jelly, Candied Lemon $15
Beautifully plated, I was told the flavour was intensely citrus-y and very rich so the serving size was perfect.
Coconut Sorbet, Sour Cherry Compote, Cherry Kirsch Sauce $16
I truly hadn't intended to have dessert but when told that this didn't contain egg, how could I resist?!
The sorbet was flavourful and the cherries were just as I'd anticipated, tart but satisfying and the kirsch added bite. And that view?
Picture perfect and I am again reminded that we are so lucky to be living in this beautiful city!:D