Claude’s Restaurant- Sydney fine dining heritage

Claude’s Restaurant at the top of Oxford St, Paddington is one of the icons of cool Sydney restaurants with a long pedigree in Sydney fine dining. Damien Pignolet owned Claude’s during the 1980’s when he introduced it as a classic French restaurant. So after changes of head chefs and owners since then – how does it stack up?

Claude's - Sydney fine dining - cool Sydney restaurantClaude’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.

Claude's Oxford St - a icon Sydney fine dining restaurant
Claude's - cool Sydney restaurant - Ocean trout poached in anchovy broth

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 ♥♥♥


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