French cuisine has had a huge impact on the food we eat and the way we dine. In Sydney there are endless French restaurants that could feed you for the evening, but Claire's Kitchen is one you should try not to miss.
Claire's Kitchen is French brasserie; it's more relaxed than your fine dining restaurants, but still upmarket and carefully styled. It is unmistakably French. From the food, to the wines, to the waiters; blink and you could believe you'd been transported to France. It's a beautiful and intimate space; large groups can use the upstairs for special events while couples will feel like they have the restaurant to themselves on a table for two.
You'd be wasting your time here if you skipped entrees and went straight to mains. Choose the classically French escargots bourguignons: garlicky snails with parsley and cognac butter; you'll wish you had more once you've popped them all in your mouth. Other entrees include crepes, mussels, steak tartare, or a cheese souflee.
Of course if you really want to indulge yourself you can't go past the smooth and creamy duck liver pâté. It comes served in its own little pot with crispy bread, chutney, and some pickles on the side. You'll feel a little bit guilty keeping it all to yourself, but it's worth every mouthful.
No matter your favourite meat, you'll find something to choose from amongst the mains. The menu includes tarragon stuffed chicken on risotto, pan fried snapper, braised pork belly with lentils, a rack of lamb, beef fillet, and the duck and pinot pie.
The pie, sitting on a bed of mashed potato, features a flaky puff pastry crust that reveals a mouthwatering duck filling and a hidden layer of melted brie. It's a clear winner on the dinner menu, as every forkful just melts in your mouth.
Claire's is a very reasonably priced restaurant, but the one downside is dessert. While they definitely don't let you down on taste, the assorted desserts from the dessert trolley are $18 each. This is a reasonable price tag for some elaborate desserts, but the salted caramel eclair was just that: a simple eclair served with ice cream and some strawberry. It was well presented and tasted pleasant, but it felt like paying more than $12 for the eclair was a bit steep.
Everything at Claire's Kitchen is well executed. The wait staff are courteous and very efficient, and they make every customer feel not just valued, but as if they're a special guest. It's the perfect spot for a special occasion, you'll just have to hope your boyfriend or girlfriend doesn't get too distracted by the charming male waiters.
Claire's Kitchen is the work of chef Mark Kuzma and is named after his alter ego, Claire de Lune. Find out more from their website, or book yourself a table and experience for yourself. You can also keep an eye on their Facebook page for restaurant deals. The restaurant is open from Tuesday to Saturday from 6pm to 12am and for lunch by appointment.