I'm a passionately positive foodie based in Sydney, Australia. My life is a continual quest to discover and uncover amazing food, restaurants and chefs across the world. Visit my blog at www.foodiemookie.com and come venturing with me!
Published October 18th 2016
Is Casual-Fine Dining a thing now?
There are so many excellent restaurants in Sydney that vie for Hats and accolades every year. You know the ones where you spend a few hours scrubbing yourself up, donning on your best attire and venturing off to several hours of ridiculously delicious food at prices you would spend on several weeks of groceries.
In the past few months, there have been several of these stellar restaurants that have decided to close up/reinvent/change - Silvereye, Marque, Movida, Rockpool est 1989 (although recently reinvented as Eleven Bridge) are among the main restaurants.
Not all is lost though with the cheeky Bouche on Bridge Bouche on Bridge opening at 6 Bridge Street Sydney which is weirdly close to the newly opened Eleven Bridge. Bouche's claim to fame? Casual fine-dining. I was curious and perplexed at this revelation. Can you dine casually and eat fine dining? Does this mean all these hours of fancy-ing myself up are no long needed (upside is there is more eating time).
I took some fellow sceptics and booked a night out - casually. The restaurant is an unassuming dark door on Bridge Street but that's where the adventure begins. The room is long with exposed high ceiling. The room is elegant yet dressed down with the main focus the beautiful bar at the end of the main dining room.
A white light attracts your eye to the mezzanine level where there is threshing activity from the kitchen staff, brightly lit like the rockstars they are.
The menu is a sectional selection with 'Sea, Land, Farm, Savour & Sweet'. This pays homage to the ethical, low carbon footprint and organic farm to table approach from Chef Harry Stockdale-Powell. And it is good, really good.
Now on any given day, if there are potatoes to be had, especially ones with anything remotely like duck fat, goose fat or in this case lard, it is a most marvellous day. These were so good, we had to restrain ourselves from ordering more.
Wessex saddleback, white strawberries, charred lettuce ($34)
Beetroot, goats milk, liquorice ($18) was a stand out dessert with potent sweet, sour and savoury flavours with a creamy texture. This was one of three amazing desserts in the 'Sweet' section.
So is this casual fine-dining a thing?
It is obvious that the food at Bouche on Bridge is of a fine-dining ilk but it does have a beautiful relaxed, rustic feel to it. You feel better for dining there and walk away craving more. Why not dress up anyway and make a night of it, the ingredients will appreciate the respect.