Claude’s is a small restaurant, just 30 plus seats, behind a imposing wooden door – you enter to discover an oasis from busy Oxford St. The room is dark, painted walls with framed lithographs and paintings – and low subtle wall lighting. It’s like a refined London club but the food and service is much more than that. We went for the five course tasting menu, matched with wine – what restaurants are now calling ‘wine flight’. Not being great eaters of mussels – we asked for a substitution – the brilliantly professional maitre d’ willingly obliged. And so commenced a culinary journey that showed off the approach of owner and head chef Chui Lee Luk.
Some of the standout dishes – the liver and tumeric was the perfect combination of a petite cubes of liver mousse and vegetables – with a fine sauce highlighted in flavour and colour with fresh tumeric. The tumeric was a perfect counter-balance to the sweetness of the liver. The other standout course was Silky Chicken with fine cubes of peanut tofu in a simple, perfectly clear broth. This dish was expertly crafted and the succulence of the chicken is still a strong food memory. This was perfectly complemented by a Dexter Pinot Noir from Mornington Peninsula.
The ocean trout with dried anchovy and cabbage – presented a fillet of trout most perfectly poached in anchovy broth with cabbage, beans and a haunting dash of Vietnamese mint. This dish had sensual texture and flavours but didn’t work vsiually as well as it could – the greens looked a little dry and wilted. The wine for this dish as Riefle Cote de Rouffach Pinot Gris from Alsace.
The short-rib of wagyu beef with squid noodles, asparagus and goji berries – perhaps a little more traditional fare, was again well balanced and a myriad of complementary flavours and visuals.
The verdict – Claude’s maintains its place in Sydney fine dining – maybe the time for this high end style of dining is waning but we must continue to support the brilliant chefs whose visions let us experience perfection. Go for a cool Sydney restaurant experience where you get to sample some of what keeps Sydney dining in the global scene – minus any sign of splatters and blobs of food.
10 Oxford St, Woollahra NSW 2025
sydneycool rating ♥♥♥