The space is an intimate oasis in Westfield and although I admit, I am usually skeptical about restaurants in shopping malls, I have to eat humble pie with Becasse Restaurant. Of course there are other top class fine dining restaurants in shopping centres around the world. New York boasts Thomas Keller’s three Michelin starred restaurant Per Se, in the Time Warner Center at Columbus Circle and any serious food critic who has been there will tell you this is New York’s best. Back to Becasse Restaurant, down a hallway decorated with tree branches and leaves – you get the feeling you’re entering a beautiful garden. Then you find yourself in dining space with only a small number of tables – one of the first differences from most restaurants – the tables are oval shaped and large and covered in ostrich-skin, this is pure elegance. The decor has the style of contemporary Japanese.
On this day, we were treated to a freshly created seven course degustation menu – on booking, we’d been asked if there were foods we didn’t eat. So we were presented with options to change any of the dishes – you can choose dishes from the vegetarian menu or the chef will simply omit any ingredients that don’t suit you. We started with a glass of Krug vintage champagne – the miniature artisan breads were perfect. The first course was consomme – a chilled ocean consomme for me – a dashi broth served in a clear glass tea pot and poured over the pacific oysters, sea urchin and fine cross section of slow cooked octopus. Every dish at Becasse Restaurant presents you with a multitude of finely crafted flavours which heighten your taste buds, so you discover flavours that were not instantly apparent. In the ocean consomme, the revelation was the octopus – there was a faint smokiness that seemed to have come from the slow cooking.
Next – the spanner crab with chamomile, young coconut and crab jelly was fresh and subtle – small slivers of crab dotted with clear crab jelly, tiny edible flowers continued the taste of the sea.
With the next course – we asked the sommelier for her recommendation – she chose a French chenin blanc – Christine de Mianville Chant de Vigne from Jasnières . The next course was suckling pig with black butter and miso which created a hallmark of fantastic depth of flavour and perfectly crunchy crackling. The chenin blanc was well matched with this and the next course – the roast garlic gnocchi was a standout.
For our main, we went with the summer lamb, with fennel cooked in smoked duck fat and confit Buddha’s hand. The sommelier’s recommendation for this course – Terre â Terre Cabernet Sauvignon from Wrattonbully in SA – another perfect match. The meat was succulent, with the intensity and caramelisation that comes with slowly cooked lamb.
A break comes in the form of Zen life – a creation which our wait person explained was a bridge to the dessert course – the coolness and iciness of the dish was the perfect interlude. Two different desserts were offered; a chocolate cadeau – a round chocolate coated mousse filled with lemon curd and served with honeycomb icecream. This was sensational and named by fellow food critic Terry Durack as one of the ten desserts of the year. The other, a rose germanium silken caramel – with multiple intense strawberry additions like jus and sorbet. The petit fours – a perfectly intense chocolate salted caramel – one of the best I’ve ever tasted.
The verdict – Becasse is the best fine dining restaurant in Sydney – the space is intimate with setting for just 25, the wait staff and sommelier were knowledgeable - the whole experience was perfect . The food is nothing short of inspirational – the best ingredients, expertly prepared and a modern and elegant presentation – Becasse is global fine dining. What a christmas eve lunch for Sydneycool.
sydneycool rating ♥♥♥
Level 5 Westfield Sydney
Cnr Pitt St Mall and Market St Sydney CBD NSW 2000