Eagle Street Pier, 1 Eagle Street Brisbane
Being an avid MasterChef Australia fan, I nearly flipped out after hearing that Matt Moran was opening an Aria restaurant in Brisbane. Sure, I knew about the restaurant in Sydney and it's amazing reputation, and I've seen Matt on OTHER shows (i.e. The Chopping Block) but what I was REALLY excited about was the chocolate tart from the finals.
It didn't really take me long to find time and make a booking. Unlike doing assignments and studying for end of semester exams, I can never be too busy/tired/lazy for a nice restaurant.
The restaurant is located on Eagle Street Pier, where the old Pier Nine was. The interior is classy, subtle and dim (which might be nice for the romantic type but not for me because I want good lighting for my piccies) and there's an impressive panoramic glass wall lining the riverside.
A really friendly waiter came and explained the 'specials' for today, which included an entree and main. I had already done my research online and knew what the day-to-day menu comprised of but was totally thrown off target with the specials. Incidentally, I ended up choosing one of them :D.
We decided to skip entrees and opted for a main each, with the intention of sharing dessert.
They start off with amuse bouche which was a cold, savory mushroom soup.
Then, there's the complimentary bread and butter. The bread rolls were a bit too chewy for my liking but not bad either. I prefer bread served warm and crusty.
200g Blackmore Wagyu tri-tip, marble score 9+, 600 days grain fed, served with grilled asparagus, potato batons and bone marrow
Mains didn't take too long to arrive. I had ordered the Blackmore wagyu tri-tip which was explained to me as the 'bottom part of the sirloin', and it came with grilled asparagus, potato batons and bone marrow.
I got the steak served medium rare, as recommended. SO GOOD. REALLY AMAZING. I've sure had my fair share of steaks from over the place. One of the best, I reckon. It's really filling because the wagyu is 9+ grade so the 200g is more than enough. Loved the sauce... bit unenthused about the asparagus and potato though. I couldn't figure out what the bone marrow was, let my friend try it and he said (and I quote) 'that's a slab of fat... I think it was meant to melt over the beef'. I nearly died!
Luckily the waiter verified what it actually was and I can now sleep soundly at night knowing I don't have a nugget of pure fat trying to digest in my stomach.
My friend ordered the chicken dish. It took at LEAST 15min to arrive at that point because he was so freaking indecisive. We normally all steer clear chicken dishes due to the boredom factor (sorry chicken fans! I hope Inhams doesn't send me a box of chicken essence). I asked for some feedback and the comments regarding the chicken are (my comments in brackets):
- juicy, firm, moist
- tasted like an expensive cut of chicken (lol at that one)
- sauce tasted like lemon tart (I can vouche for that)
- very unique
- suitable garnish of large cut bacon and olive slices
After the mains, we were feeling pretty confident about the quality so rather than sharing desserts, we picked one each. By which, I really mean that I picked 2 that I wanted to try. The chocolate tart was a given but I had read reviews about the banoffee which sounded promising.
Based on appearance, the chocolate tart wasn't as 'refined' as the one on MasterChef. I guess Matt Moran himself wasn't around to go the route of 100% perfection. It was REALLY chocolatey. The tart was chocolate x 1000000 concentrated as was the chocolate sorbet and macarons. Bit of overkill for me but not to say it's not great in its decadence.
I have to agree with those who say the banoffee is better. It's basically a special take on creme brulee. There's a 'banana brulee' slab topped with little banana pieces that have delicate toffee tops. Also on the plate is some crumbled almond praline, a smear of thick caramel, almond milk ice-cream and mmm... it all matches up like GENIUS. Yeh! Btw banoffee = banana + toffee.
I had a great time at Aria. Lovely service, nice environment. Sure the prices are a bit on the high end of the scale but it's backed up with excellent quality and unlike the really snooty places, serving sizes are very reasonable. The steak was fantastic and that banoffee dessert has likewise left an impression.