Wednesday, 17 August 2011


529 Kent Street

Sydney NSW 2000
(02) 9267 2900

Category: Rockstar! ($200+)

So here we are… the best of the best The Crème de la crème, the piece de resistance, the pinnacle… of food. Or it is?

It was, it has been… but since September 7, 2010 Tetsuya lost one of his coveted hats. 3 became 2 and now, instead of being in his own company at the top, he finds himself in the same class as the likes of Aria, Becasse and co. whilst Quay, Marquee and .Est take out the podium spots.

Perhaps Mr. Wakuda was too engaged with his new Singapore based venture that he has lost time, effort and perhaps his love for his Sydney flagship. Perhaps he feels he has won enough, proven his worth and does not need to push further. Maybe he is happy to take a step back from the Sydney market?  

Some however say that he has not taken a step back, if anything, he has not taken a step at all. Tetsuya’s has remained at the same high consistent standard for years, and apparently that has been its downfall. The world around has changed, the way restaurants prepare, source and grow food is totally different, and it seems Tetsuya has not changed with it.

With this is mind, it seems to not have fazed the Japanese genius. The menu has continued along the same vein, as has the dishes and the prices have actually gone up?

The restaurant itself is impressive; you can get valet parking for $20 (I advise against this, and will explain later) and it is secluded and tucked away in the bustling heart of the CBD. As with all fine dining restaurants you are greeted by a welcoming party who will happily take your coat, jackets, anything to really make you feel comfortable. Think of it as flying business class but in a restaurant in this aspect.

The décor is divided, again into separate rooms with tables in each. Most have a view of the Zen garden which at night is lit up, and if you have never been to Japan, once would find it quite interesting and peaceful. There is an upstairs dining area for more seating which looks down into the garden also.    

The service as you would expect is brilliant, the staff knowledgeable and all more than happy and willing to assist and help wherever possible. They run through the 10 courses in detail, and you get preferences should you have dietary requirements, or if there is something in particular you are not a fan of they will make adjustments (I like this). Given the menu changes relatively consistently, it probably would make little sense me going through each.

However the signature ocean trout was not that amazing. Maybe it has lost its gloss over the years. Don’t get me wrong, it was very very good but, not outstandingly amazing and not something I will never forget. As far as degustation menu’s go, I will happily say every dish was to a very high standard. The Wagyu was good and well cooked, Ox Tongue was fine, the entree of Kingfish was also pleasant but lacked real star quality, I think this is the differentiation the new age restaurants are making. Whilst their food is becoming gastromonical marvels, pushing culinary limits, Tetsuya has stayed true to the origins of cooking.  

Whereas most degustation menu’s have hit-and-miss items, all of Tetsuya’s were at a very high quality. I don’t think there were any particular stand-outs that had me craving more, and if anything, the complementary salted ricotta and truffle spread that went with the bread at the very start was the most memorable part of the meal…

Let’s face it. For the vast majority of us, this is one of those places you will probably only ever come to once. Tick the box type stuff. Get the experience, and then tell your friends and family that you have ‘done it.’ Furthermore, I would strongly suggest you not try to break it down by cost because at $210 per head and then matching wines on top, no one should, or be able to justify spending that much for 1 meal. Take this place as an experience. Treat your partner, girlfriend, wife as a once off and it is ok.

Remember how I mentioned not to take the valet parking, there is actually nothing wrong with it, but if you get the matching wines at $95 (which I recommend you do) I assure you will not be able to drive home.  It is a shame it is no longer a 3 hatter. I definitely place it higher than Iceberg's, Sepia and Becasse, however perhaps the critics are right that it is not worthy of the highest accolade. Is there a 2.5 hat category?

Overall, is it worth it? No. But then again, no meal is worth $300+ however it was definitely an experience, and one that I encourage you all to try at some point. For me personally, that’s one off the bucket list!  

Bottom line:
$210 per head for 10 courses, then $95 for matching wines. They normally have specials as well such as oysters to start, so you won’t be leaving here without forking out about $650 for 2.

Food                                       7/10
Service                                   3/3 (The guys and girls know their stuff) 
Décor                                     2/3
Cleanliness                           2/2
BONUS                                   1/2

Total                                       15/20

1 comment:

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