Where: 10 Oxford Street, Woollahra 2025
Opening Hours: [Bar] Tue - Fri 6 -11pm, Sat 12 - 3pm & 6 - 11pm, Sun 12 - 3pm [Restaurant] Wed - Sun 7 - 11pm
Phone: 02 9331 2325
Claude's, Woollahra's fine dining stalwart, has ditched the whole grown up thing. When it comes to the space, that is. This Oxford Street veteran has been reborn as a chic, vibrant and airy restaurant; an almost unrecognisable transformation from the proper white table-clothed eatery it once was.
Owner and chef Chui Lee Luk has driven a reformation of style and atmosphere to deliver a hip neighbourhood hangout, albeit a silver serviced one. Melbourne-based interior designer Pascale Gomes-McNabb has stamped Claude's with his signature frenzy of colour, texture and surfaces, whilst the bespoke uniforms designed by Gary Bigeni speak of a refined maturity.
Downstairs you'll find a compact bar offering a finely tuned wine list and a selection of smaller dishes such as the soufflé a la suissesse ($22), hot and sour mussels ($22) and a black fungus relish sandwich ($7). Alternatively, a four course lunch menu ($55 per person), exclusive to Sundays, accommodates dining folk hoping to kick back awhile.
Our beverage recommendations? The Ruinart Blanc de Blancs ($32 glass), the purest champagne from Reims, or an Orion premium draft ($8) on tap. For the connoisseurs out there, the La Grenaudiere Muscadet Sevre et Maine Sur Lie ($29 half bottle) or the Dom Andre Brunel Les Cailloux ($90 half bottle) might spark your interest. Expect dry orchard fruits and a mineral lightness from the white former and a full bodied red with subtle tannins from the latter.
Upstairs in the restaurant, guests are there for the serious degustation. Head chef Ben Sears plates up a menu based on seasonal produce in either five course ($115) or eight course ($140) form, with matching wines $65 and $90 respectively. Sears' menu is punctuated by seafood with raw scallops, sea urchin and fermented carrot as the introductory dish followed by broth of crab and persimmon. Later on in the piece there's Suffolk lamb belly with fish fragrant artichoke for a meaty indulgence.
Claude's has reinvented itself with an excitable outlook on the modern dining experience. Diners are welcomed into a perfectly ironic space where the décor is sophisticatedly light hearted, but the food and service are almost unchallengeable. From stalwart to reinvented kid on the block, Claude's is set to turn heads. And with a fresh, well-priced menu and knowledgeable wine list, we'd recommend you make a move to get down there quickly.
By Lisa Omagari
Black fungus relish sandwich
Good For Groups: