Celebrity chef Matt Moran’s flagship Sydney restaurant ARIA has a twin at the edge of the bustling Eagle Street pier precinct, the aptly named ARIA Brisbane.
ARIA Brisbane is an elegant award winning Restaurant which offers guests an unforgettable dining experience, with soaring views of the Story Bridge and Kangaroo Point Cliffs. Boasting a well-balanced seasonal award winning menu, featuring local and Australian produce with an award winning wine list and an elegant, contemporary menu with seamless service .
The menu is filled with inspiring dishes designed to challenge and delight patrons’ palates. Innovation is the best word to describe ARIA’s Modern Australian food selection; however it is clear that celebrity chef Matt Moran of the Masterchef fame has stopped short of overcomplicating dishes in favour of serving fresh unpretentious cuisine.
I have observed that the bakery of most fine dining in Australia is often the weakest department. I am not saying the bread was no good, they were delicious, but in terms of variety, they need to take a page from the French.
Next, the amuse bouche – this complimentary course is usually a showcase of the chef’s ideas and the night’s cuisine – if this is it, I am getting worried it’s going be a boring dinner. Crackers and cheese on more crackers. Cute, but uninspiring.
Beetroot and goat curd
When it was brought to the table, we thought they got the sequence wrong – ice cream as first course? It is a quenelle of liver pate, goat curd incorporated with beetroot. Beetroot is a superfood and relaxes the strong taste of goat curd.
My companion could not take it on its own, and had to spread it on the bread.
Sydney rock oysters, shallot and champagne vinegar
Oysters in Chef Moran’s restaurants are raw and unpretentious, usually served naked with condiments on the side. Here, he decided to dress the Sydney rock oysters with his signature champagne vinegar and ginger beads. No need for the lemon wedges.
If you want to know how much Chef Moran likes oysters, here’s an article he wrote for The Daily Telegraph in Sydney.
Cooked well, thick and succulent local sourced scallops. Served on top of a chopped bed of beetroots, croutons and a tangy sauce. This is a close-up shot, so you cannot imagine how small these scallops were.
Lobster – grilled with tomato, basil, asparagus and lemon oil
Lobster tails grilled on their own, served with cherry tomatoes, freshly picked sweet basil and an emulsified asparagus and lemon oil. I am beginning to understand Chef Moran’s philosophy, he will always hide one ingredient into the sauce, into the emulsion, or somewhere.
Fillet, cape byron, grain-fed, 250g
The full name is Cape Byron Australian Angus beef, a mouthful to remember, but it is a breed that is carried over from the Scottish Angus and bred in the Northern NSW region. Nothing to do with the famous peninsula or the lighthouse.
The cut has a high marbling (not as much wagyu) and a good beefy taste if you like your meat. Perfectly done to medium rare.
Scotch fillet, ranger valley black market, grain fed, 300g
The rib eye or “ribeye” was originally, as the name implies, the center best portion of the rib steak, without the bone. In Australia and New Zealand, “ribeye” is used when this cut is served with the bone in. With the bone removed, it is called “Scotch fillet“.
So what’s this Rangers Market Black Market Angus? This is a selected cut with a better than M5+ marbling score that promises you the melt-in-mouth texture of wagyu. Yes, it’s that tender, but not meaty. That’s why you will need the condiments after your first few bites.
All steaks came with a side of steamed vegetable and hand cut fries.
Fried brussels sprouts, shallot, soy
We love Brussel sprouts, so we ordered it almost every meal in Australia. Here, it is done in an oriental influenced style, pan fired in cast iron pan with nothing by soy sauce and garnished with deep fried shallots. Yummy.
Petit fours – marshmallow, truffle and wafer
Too much food, we skipped dessert. But they still serve us the customary petit fours (or three?)
The Decor and Service
The restaurant features floor to ceiling glass windows allowing the diners to marvel at the breathtaking views of Short Bridge and a serene Eagle Pier at night, making ARIA the perfect backdrop for all occasions and one of the best dining experiences in Brisbane.
Date Visited : Sep 2014
Sorry for the poor photos – it was 2014, and the iPhone I had was pretty bad in poor lighting. And I cannot go and take the photos again in this fine restaurant, they closed in May 2019 as Eagle Pier is demolished for redevelopment.