Holy smokes we’ve been together for four years now and so because I really am spoilt, it’s Ash’s turn to organise our anniversary meal. We NEED to celebrate being a couple every single year and we NEED to have a fancy dinner at Testuya’s.
Entering the grounds of Tetsuya, you are stepping into a haven from the hustle and bustle of Sydney city. The Japanese zen garden surroundings; snow white gravel coats the underneath of lush green foliage creating a peaceful atmosphere. As soon as we reach the entrance, we are greeted by a suited waiter and taken inside the actual restaurant, there are dishes being distributed to tables and the rooms are abuzz with free flowing conversation. There’s also the sound of porcelain plates on bench tops travelling from the kitchen to the hallway and hearing this makes me feel like I’m coming home after a long day at work, ready to relax, in my case, that involves eating heaps of delicious food.
Our 10-course degustation for the evening is explained, we chuckled after being told ‘there will be two protein dishes, the beef is from the fillet and the quail is from the breast…’ Complimentary champagne ensues and bread and butter follows shortly after.
Testuya’s butter has added ricotta and black truffle, it’s like cheesy mousse heavily perfumed with that distinguishable truffle aroma. Ate all of it and I’m not the slightest bit ashamed because you do not want to leave any of this behind, why would you?
I had so much dark rye and grainy sourdough that night, we were supplied with as much of these warm, yeasty breads as we desired and if I had a gluten quota, I definitely exceeded it.
Beginning with a chilled starter, the creamy potato and leek paired with ever so slightly sweet marscapone ice cream and popped rice was an excellent textural blend of smooth and crunchy.
The slices of tuna were delicately poached in soy, still rare and paired with the roast eggplant, was a flavour combination of salty, buttery and velvety.
The scampi tail arrived lightly grilled and coated with a lurid orange scampi oil that tasted very strongly of the shellfish. With the irony chicken liver parfait, this tasted… okay. I’m uncertain about the scampi being draped with a sheet of gelatine that didn’t really serve a purpose nor provide flavour, it just made it awkward to cut the tail into smaller pieces as the knife wouldn’t pierce through the gelatine sheet.
This was Ash’s non-shellfish substitute, it was a lovely piece of veal, but if I were picky, I’d point out that it was a bit average considering where we were dining.
More bread consumed.
Are these jewels on a plate? Or a work of art? Because it’s too pretty to eat. Anyone serious about food will have seen photos upon photos of this kombu crusted ocean trout on numerous blogs. It was a stunning piece of confit fish and oh yes I can attest to its gorgeously buttery flesh, splitting beautifully with a knife. I also really enjoyed the briny roe and bursts of sour pomelo, the only criticism I have is that the salad could have done with a better addition than the bland daikon.
This was my first time having tried tooth fish, it arrived nicely cooked, kissed with grill marks and plated atop a miso corn puree studded with bits of fresh crab. I undertook some post-degustation research and discovered that toothfish tastes similar to crab, which I didn’t recall detecting, not because of the piece I received but because I’m not the best at deciphering some flavour profiles. I also found out that it is notoriously difficult to fish, living in the freezing sub-Antarctic, 4,250 kilometres south of Perth, however it’s a certified sustainable fish. That it has made its way onto my plate gives me a greater appreciation of how far it’s come.
This john dory dish is the non-shellfish substitute of the aforementioned grilled toothfish dish, it stood out not for the right reasons but because it wasn’t as special as I thought it could be. It was tasty, delicate but uninventive, the ingredients came across as slapdash and plated likewise. A bit of a let down because compared to other fine dining experiences we’ve had such as at Sepia and Black by Ezard, they succeeded at providing better and more impressive alternatives for shellfish and pork dishes.
The quail breast was moist, juicy and wonderfully smoky with jasmine tea, the parsnip, earthy and sweet and the calamari slices absolutely soaked up the rich, sticky jus.
Okay I’ll be upfront and tell you that I went a bit crazy with saturation here. Well the beef tenderloin was fall apart soft, cooked medium rare, pieces of luscious, fatty marrow sitting in a pool of flavourful, rich, jus, giving the sticky lips effect. I only wished there were more of it to enjoy!
Tangy blood orange sorbet and crunchy cha cha fruit granita cleanse the palate perfectly for the dessert courses to come.
Plump figs, honey-like in taste and jelly-like in texture, squirts of molten white chocolate, crumbly meringue pieces, rounded off by a citrusy hit from the intensely sour and sweet preserved lemon curd. I’m absolutely going to be borrowing these great flavours for home next time a DIY dessert craving hits.
If chocolate cakes came with age group recommendations, Tetsuya’s is undoubtedly for grown ups, strong with dark chocolate icing, dark chocolate mousse, cream and leaning more on the bitter side, it’s devilishly decadent.
Petit fours are tear drops of dark chocolate, peanut, salt, puffed rice and popping candy that left silver glitter on my fingers where I held them and fragrant strawberry and cream macarons.
Despite being peppered with some underwhelming dishes, overall, the meal was suitably extravagant, the service was top-notch and we left the peaceful surroundings feeling incredibly spoiled by the fine dining experience. I’d still rate the degustation from Black by Ezard as the best I’ve experienced so far, as it ticked all the boxes in terms of how satiated I was, the creativity of the dishes and how expertly the shellfish and pork substitutes were arranged, which Tetsuya’s fell slightly short of.
Tuesday to Friday: Dinner from 5.30pm
Saturday: Lunch (from midday) and dinner (from 6.30pm)