Where: 1/65-67 Foveaux Street Surry Hills 2010
Opening Hours: Bar Tue - Sat 5pm - late Restaurant Tue - Sat 6pm - late & Thu - Fri lunch 12 - 3pm
Phone: (02) 9211 0664
Any restaurant that has lasted over five years in Sydney is doing something right. And that's just what Foveaux has done. Entering the closed Red Door to the bar area is a little intimidating, but once you're inside find comfort in a cosy corner surrounded by stone walls and redeeming curtains.
Start with A Touch of Summer $17, a citric bomb of grapefruit-infused vodka, Campari and pomegranate syrup topped with orange soda. Alternatively, try the Foveaux Rose $17, a combination of Russian standard vodka stirred with lychee liqueur and rose tea syrup, served martini style. Matching the beverages, the bar menu is "designed to follow the Foveaux experience of using unique ingredients with a play on textures and flavours".
Be warned, however, that it's probably better to head upstairs to the restaurant with an empty stomach. Once up there, you'll find the sandstone brick walls with up-lights, are home to some vibrant, almost street art inspired artworks. The high back chairs, widely spaced, and huge tables, give you all the trademarks of a fine dining setting. The only gripe, and a very small one at that, would be that the music didn't quite jell with the surroundings.
There is an a la carte menu, yes, but you'll get much better value and range from the Modern European style Tasting Plate (6 courses $85), with matched wines $35 or $55. The $4 Oysters (Port Stevens Rock oysters on the night) with refreshingly tart cabernet sauvignon vinegar pearls and eschalot, were a good start to the meal.
After the amuse, out came the slimy mackerel, black sesame, mushroom milk, puffed rice with pickled vegetables and elk. The use of purees, paints and textures will jump out. Although every dish was bang on, the caramilised venison tongue, nham pla prawns, crispy pork skin, cauliflower cream, cashew, shiso and mint are worth a special mention. What first appears to be an extremely fancy surf and turf, is actually a fusion of flavours, including meaty red wine venison stock, which is lifted by the chilli of the nham pla. These strong flavours worked well with Chablis style 10 Hiedler, Gruner Veltliner, Kamptal Austria.
The artfully smeared mushroom puree, which accompanies the roasted venison leg was another highlight. Lest we forget the tart grape sorbet, served with Jindi brie cream and oats. After this, the palette will be more than ready for the roasted strawberries, pistachio frangipane, sheep's yoghurt sorbet, crisp fennel pollen jelly and sweet grissini served with dehydrated fennel atop.
British born chef-owner, Darrell Felstead certainly know what he's doing with Foveaux. The food is adventurous with an eclectic array of flavours and textures. Our taste buds were smiling.
By Lena Peacock
Good For Groups: