"Please don't throw up this time, ok?", I teased Mr Foodwink for the umpteenth time.
Yep. Despite his previous lacklustre performance, Mr Foodwink insisted that he wanted nothing but degustation on his birthday. In fact, we nearly went to Assiette in 2008. Again, it was between Christmas and New Year. Again, many restaurants were closed at that time of the year. Tossing between Le Pelican and Assiette, we skipped the latter because souffle wasn't on the menu.
One year on, there's still no souffle but we couldn't resist this French restaurant again. At $95 dollars, Assiette offers one of the best-valued degustation menus in town. Of course, two hats and a star were also important variables in the equation.
We were not disappointed. Head chef Warren Turnbull's team worked like an army to deliver 10 beautifully-crafted dishes.
First Up: (1) Bread and butter (yes, I like taking pictures of them); (2) Seasonal oyster with Vietnamese dressing and baby coriander; (3) Seared tuna with Japanese salad, smoked eel, pork crackling and basil puree; and (4) Pickled beetroot with goats curd, basil jelly and pine nut vinaigrette.
Second Spring: (5) Terrine of Macleay Valley rabbit with carrot, hazelnut salad and raisin puree; (6) Crispy skinned snapper fillet with spanner crab and ginger congee; (7) Indian spiced pork belly with seared scallops, onion bhajis and mango chutney puree; and (8) Roasted cutlet of lamb with Morrocan spiced lamb shank and pistachio cous cous.
The Finale: (9) Passionfruit sorbet (instead of cheese); (10) Granny Smith apple jelly with vanilla syrup and apple granita; (11) Free menu to take home; and (12) Hazelnut dacquoise with dark chocolate mousse and cherry-ripple ice cream.
My favourite course was the refreshing combination of pickled beetroot and goats curd (3), and Mr Foodwink's the tender rabbit terrine (4). Quite surprisingly, we both really enjoyed the crispy skinned snapper with congee (5). Uhm, ginger-flavoured Chinese congee in a French restaurant? Yes, that's definitely a first for us.
If I had to be reallllly picky, I would prefer the menu to be more French than Asian and African. After all, Assiette is a French restaurant and my preference is that restaurants should specialise in one type of cuisine. However, we do live in an increasingly globalised world. And if restaurants want to innovate with imported flavours, the dishes should be as well executed as at Assiette.