Vegetarian degustation menu with wine pairing is becoming a bit of a theme for me and my husband. Especially, when it comes to celebrating our birthdays –which are only a day apart. This year, we decided to have our birthday dinner at Bentley’s.
The restaurant is located on the corner of Pitt and Hunter Streets in Sydney CBD. Although Bentley is attached to Radisson Hotel, it is actually a separate entity, meaning operating independently. Bentley is also the sister restaurant to Yellow and Monopole –Yellow being the fully vegetarian one in Potts Point. We are thinking of trying it soon. When we do, I’ll let you know Peoples…
As you enter, there is the bar on street level with almost-open kitchen where all the magic happening. The dining area of the restaurant is at mezzanine level. Arched windows and high ceiling tell me that it’s an old building. However, the décor definitely has a more contemporary feel to it. I absolutely adore the coloured glass lamps and black tubes, criss-crossing from the ceiling and creating a dramatic effect.
This was not our first time at Bentley’s; we celebrated our wedding anniversary here two years ago with another 8-course vegetarian degustation menu. The memory of a particular onion reduction stayed with me forever. We also pop in every now and then just for a glass of wine or two because their wine list is sensational.
Here’s the menu of the night:
BENTLEY’S VEGETARIAN MENU
Carot + Chamomile + Buttermilk + Grapefruit
2015 The Wine Farm ‘Pinot Gris Field Blend’, Gippsland Victoria
Caramelized Macadamia + Mexican Cucumber + Macadamia Milk
2014 Thibaud Boudignon Anjou Blanc Chenin Blanc, Loirc France
Cucumber + Celery + Green Tea
Roasted Eshallot + Black Garlic + Nigella
2013 Weingut Huber Weisser Burgunder, Baden Germany
Darjeeling + Grilled Citrus + Honey
King Oyster Mushroom + Pickled Enoki + Eggplant + Broccoli
2013 Marechal Auxey-Duresses Pinot Noir, Burgundy France
Beetroot + Bayleaf
Roasted Jerusalem Artichoke + Pickled Shimeji + Hay Oil
2014 I Fabbri ‘Lamole’Chianti Classico Sangiovese, Tuscany ltaly
Heirloom Zucchini + Broad Bean + Puffed Rice + Jobs Tears
2013 Dalwhinne Moonambel Cabemet, Pyrenees Victoria
Verjus + Smoked Apple
Yoghurt + Black Olive + Lemonade Fruit
2012 Bemabeleva ‘Cantocuerdas’ Moscatel, Madrid Spain
Violet lce-Cream + Gocoa Honeycomb + Blueberry
2013 Royal Tokaji Co, ‘Late Harvest Furmint Blend, Tokaj Hungary
Buttermilk + Wattleseed + West lndian Spice
Before the menu above was served, our dinner started with complimentary bread and butter, followed by Parmesan Puffs and Smoked Roast Potato with Cream Cheese and Chives.
Of course, we didn’t touch the bread and butter despite being very tasty. Experience talking here Peoples; bread and butter fill you up!
Carot + Chamomile + Buttermilk + Grapefruit (above) paired with bio-dynamic 2015 The Wine Farm ‘Pinot Gris Field Blend’ from Gippsland Victoria. Wine was quite clean, fresh and the citrus in it cut through buttermilk.
Caramelized Macadamia + Mexican Cucumber + Macadamia Milk
Browned lettuce with a touch of fennel, caramelised macadamia nuts, and Mexican cucumber, all drizzled with macadamia milk. Don’t tell Donald Trump about Mexican cucumbers; he might try and build a wall around them. The dish was paired with 2014 Thibaud Boudignon Anjou Blanc Chenin Blanc, Loire France. Anjou is one of my favourite regions, by the way. This one was particularly rich and fruity with a dry finish that goes on forever at the back of the palate and strong acid cuts through macadamia milk.
Roasted Eshallot + Black Garlic + Nigella (above) paired with 2013 Weingut Huber Weisser Burgunder, Baden Germany. In this dish, the sweetness of eschallot is balanced by the tartness of nigella sauce. I thought, the nigella sauce was very much like Turkish olive paste, just different texture.
King Oyster Mushroom + Pickled Enoki + Eggplant + Broccoli (above) paired with 2013 Marechal Auxey-Duresses Pinot Noir, Burgundy France. The broth in this is made from fenugreek, coffee and aniseed. And that purple crisp on top is made of eggplant. As for the wine… It was the first red wine of the night. It was quite barnyardy with a very dry finish.
Roasted Jerusalem Artichoke + Pickled Shimeji + Hay Oil (above) paired with 2014 I Fabbri ‘Lamole’ Chianti Classico Sangiovese, Tuscany Italy. We are a huge fan of chianti. This one was old school chianti which went incredibly well with Roasted Jerusalem Artichokes. Bentley’s seems to be the only place they cook Jerusalem artichoke as I have never seen it at any other restaurant’s menu.
Heirloom Zucchini + Broad Bean + Puffed Rice + Jobs Tears (above) paired with 2013 Dalwhinne Moonambel Cabernet, Pyrenees Victoria. What I really enjoyed about this dish is that the mixture of textures; some crunchy like those zucchini crisps on top, some soft like rice puffs and the freshness of the broth is to die for. Cabernet was an excellent match, too.
Yoghurt + Black Olive + Lemonade Fruit (above) paired with 2012 Bernabeleva ‘Cantocuerdas’ Moscatel, Madrid Spain. This was absolutely sensational! Lemonade fruits is somewhere between lemon and orange. Moscatel from Spain is an absolute palate cleanser. Now we are being prepared for dessert…
Violet lce-Cream + Cocoa Honeycomb + Blueberry (above) paired with 2013 Royal Tokaji Co, ‘Late Harvest Furmint Blend, Tokaj Hungary. This was the lightest, fluffiest ice cream I have ever had in my life. By the way, those two sticks in the photo are meringue.
At Bentley, you see and experience attention to detail everywhere. The moment you enter the premises, you are greeted by a staff member. You may get served by different waiters/waitresses throughout the night but that doesn’t break the flow.
This time around, the service –and the amount of wine—was well paced over three hours and eight courses. The highlight of the service was for me, sommelier Marelius. He is from Norway and has an elegant way of explaining various elements of each glass of wine, regions, production or wine growing techniques and why they are paired with certain dishes. Thank you, Marelius.
Overall, the food at Bentley’s is innovative (even for vegetarians). It shows you what’s possible. I absolutely enjoy the incredible harmony of contrast flavours served with an artistic presentation.
Special Note: One of VegFusion Facebook page followers, Adriana Wall, informed me that Bentley Restaurant and Bar also has a full vegan degustation for those who don’t eat dairy or eggs. She says “It is a wonderful restaurant. It’s been our special occasion restaurant for years and when my partner and I turned from being vegetarian to vegan it was fantastic to still be catered for with the enthusiasm and exceptional dishes Bentley Bar has for alternative diets.”
Bentley Restaurant and Bar can be found at this address:
27 O’Connell Street
Sydney NSW 2000
Phone: (02) 8214 0505