You've got to throw your boomerang to get it back, otherwise you're just carrying around a bent stick!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Let's Do Lunch: Becasse

Dining at restaurants like Bécasse make me feel like I'm on the other side of this desire
Cutting back my shifts at the restaurant meant I would have more time to be full-time student. However, I seem to have replaced serving food with observing food, and eating it of course. Last Wednesday was no exception! October truly is a wonderful month. Not only is it smack bang in the middle of Spring which means picnics, extended hours of sunshine (courtesy of daylight savings), music festival announcements, a new semester of university, and more birthdays than you can poke a stick at, it also means it's time for the Crave Sydney International Food Festival! If money was no concern, and time was mine for the taking, I'd possibly only come home to sleep, choosing instead to wile away my days and nights doing brunch, lunch, talks, classes, special dinners, desserts, cocktails, wine tasting and high teas until my stomach (and liver) exploded into smithereens.

So, when my good friend Patrick Roche suggested we take advantage of this marvellous month of months and get together for luncheons, I leapt at the idea. Initially, his heart was set on dining once again at Aria, like he had the year before. Dreamily musing of the harbour views, cool cucumber aperetif soup, and superb seafood he suggested we try our luck booking at table in the morning for lunch that day. Oh how blissfully optimistic we were. Not a place in the restaurant all day. Not to worry, with a day off I let my fingers do the walking and scored us a table for two at Bécasse at two! Paddy (Patrick), was pleased at this outcome and I was excited about dining at my first two hat restaurant (having dined at Tetsuya's - when it had three hats - and Zest - one hat, respectively).

Bécasse was a lot closer to Town Hall station than we envisioned, so after a short stroll we arrived with five minutes to spare. Prying open the large glass doors, I felt like Thumbelina, a small humble girl stepping into a giant beautiful room of clean pressed white linen tablecloths, a cascading marble staircase and glittering circular Swarovoski crystal Chandeleirs. Greeted by a suave waiter we were informed our table would be ready shortly after two and with a room as elegant as that to ogle, we were happy to wait. 

Swarovoski crystal chandeleirs over the grand dining room
 Pining for a window seat, we still lucked out with our place down the stairs but right in front of the kitchen. Being a lady has it's advantages, as I got to choose my seat first and couldn't overlook a spot overlooking the kitchen. Water was filled up in our wine glasses straight away. How I love drinking beverages other than alcohol in wine glasses. When I get the opportunity I enjoy imagining I am Audrey Hepburn from Breakfast at Tiffany's as parading around my house with milk in a martini glass.

Holly go lightly just chilling like a villain with a martini glass of milk
 Presented with a our menus, we were able to peruse the tantalizing dishes we may have selected from, had we not decided to indulge in the $35 lunch deal of a main course and glass of Brown Brothers wine. However, when we got to the 'Let's do lunch' section we spotted a $65 three course option of which we greedily ummed and ahhed over. We let gluttony get the best of us, claiming the value of the deal and superb opportunity as reasons not to refuse such an offer.

First out of the kitchen was an appetiser which the waitress explained was Black Olive Biscotti with sour cream and chives. The combination of salty black olives in the chewy sweet biscotti with the soft creamy, mild onion dollop met with such exciting textural fervour. I really enjoy the growing sweet meets savoury mash-up and this wonderful apperetif could almost be a dessert in a bigger portion.

Black Olive Biscotti with sour cream and chives 

Next we were presented with our entree, a salad of beetroot and prosciutto. The dish looked incredible, the elements appeared to replicate a delicious forest. The wafer thin prosciutto added only a tiny salty hit which contrasted superbly with the semi-circle cubes of beetroot, crunch of the roasted hazelnuts and sweet chewy Biscotti. This was all rounded off by sweet, oily sauce to die for.

Salad of Prosciotto and Beetroot

We snacked on a chewy white roll with a special butter whilst awaiting the main event. As our mains sailed towards our table the warm, buttery scent of seafood wafted filling our eyes with joy. Whilst to the onlooker (such as my brother) the dish may look suspiciously like something my dog brought up, rather than something you'd want to wolf down, I assure you the reality is far from that. The soft, meaty prawns sat in a warm, sensuous froth, with loads of beautiful prosciotto, perfectly cooked rice and peas to dive in to. It seemed well matched with the wonderful Brown Brothers Pinot Grigio - a brilliant, light yellow drop with citrus and herbaceous characters and great length and balance. Although the richness of the crustacean flavour meant that we ate it slowly, savouring it and contemplating how it almost beckoned for the other suggested wine, a Brown Brothers Tempranillo. However, we'd chose on the basis that seafood traditionally matches best with white, and a crisp white refreshes best on a hot day.

Risotto of South Australian prawns and prosciutto
With every last spoonful of risotto scraped from the bowl,  we waited for dessert to arrive. Dessert was not as prompt to be brought out as the other courses, but we were thankful as we needed that time to check our dessert compartment had room. Even if it hadn't been vacant, such a gorgeous dish would mosey on in regardless. When our lemon meringue pies arrived we struggled to bring ourselves to destroy such a creation with our lusty spoons. Cracking the side of the tart was met with an unexpected surprise. The pastry rather than being flaky or crumbly was golden and wickedly sweet and crispy, whilst the lemon curd was slightly runny and wonderfully bitersweet. Topped with the oh so fluffy meringue, it was hard to surmount the task of eating such an indulgent, sweet on one's own. I also adored the teeny weeny toasted meringues and pistachio praline that circled the tart.
Lemon Meringue Tart

Upon slowly and steadily savouring the dessert, we couldn't refuse a coffee. Topped with love heart, the shiny, silky milk, a good rich nutty brown colour, displayed the characteristics of a good coffee. Not over roasted or under extracted, the coffee was divine in the afternoon and definetly one I would have again.
A good looking coffee
Oh Bécasse what a joy, what a pleasure! How I long to return to your glittering room to dine on your fascinating and seductive French dishes such as the veal baked in coffee and clay, or be part of the local food scene with the producers lunches and dinners. I shall and must return. 


204 Clarence St

 Sydney NSW 2000

(02) 9283 3440

I leave you with another French delicacy in the form of Nouvelle Vague - a new wave musical collective from France who do gorgeous covers among other wonderful musical morsels. Their sad, yet soothing cover of the classic Joy Division track, 'Love will Tear us Apart', is so tragic, delicate and beautiful. Sometimes when you love something too much - whether it be food, study, or a significant other - you burn yourself out with your passion. Whether, I have eaten too much, spent too much, or drank too much, I am often torn apart from pursuing my greedy gastronomic pursuits. I always want more and I want to love everything so fully, so whole-heartedly that the effort can tear my world apart.

Bon appetit!


  1. That sounds delightful! "I always want more and I want to love everything so fully, so whole-heartedly that the effort can tear my world apart."- I love you! x

  2. Sounds like a delightful meal.. I hope to visit Becasse one day too :)

  3. that lemon meringue tart sounds heavenly!

  4. Everything looks so delicious! I only wish I worked closer to the city, so that I could do these lunches too! And I love Breakfast at Tiffany's haha ;)

  5. i've been wanting to come here and reading your review has made me want to even more! and I agree with you, if I had the choice, i would most certainly spend my days flitting between bruches, afternoon teas, cooking class and the like!


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