As French restaurants go, dining out tends to follow a similar pattern. Semi darkness, ambiantly lit tables, music is a back drop to the food and interiors are blend of finished in wood, exposed brick and soft furnishings. This is what we expect – then there is Meu Jardin.
We have never dined on a spaceship, but we have a feeling that this is as close to Virgin Galatica as most of us will get. We walk up a quiet, dimly lit Skittle Lane on a saturday night then turn left… POW!! Lights, Camera, Action!! This is an assult on all the senses. We navigate a marble catwalk upwaards to a bridge, alongside a full-on waterfall which leads to the restaurant floor (the bar is below). It’s a riot of neon yellow, shiny white reflective surfaces, marble and the music is pumping like a nightclub. One glance around the room tells us that is exactly what everyone here is heading to next. These are generally tell-tale signs that a great culinary experience does not reside here. Well, we were wrong.
First of all its not a French Restaurant anymore. Executive Head Chef Murat Ekinci has just joined and has created a modern European menu with a strong nod to Turkish influences. It’s broken into small share, mains and large share plates. Service is bright and thoughtful and we take up the offer of Dimplomatico Ambassador infused Old Fashioned.
Every dish is stunningly presented, the skill, eye and artistry which is careful, considered and creative is not what you would expect. Two ruby red scampi lounge on a broth of delicate garlic buttermilk and parsley oil. The sweet flesh pulls away from the shell, just keeping a lick of char. A bed of romesco sauce is layered with finely sliced olives, herbs, pea tendrils, grilled silky soft baby octopus. It’s a delight for the eyes. Each mouthful is balance of flavours. The burrata is matched with a few seasoned halves of heirloom tomatoes with an olive oil base. Warmed french baguette is perfect for scooping up juices. The saganaki is a star arriving in a searing, honeyed bubbling iron skillet with a single branch of aromatic oregano.
Mains of mushroom risotto with two caramalised mushrooms is a lighter alternative to the meaty lamb ragu. The lamb has been slow cooked for 12hours. It richly flavoured with tomatoes and a little dryer than other versions we have had but is perfectly paired with a French burgandy. Add sides of cauliflower and you are away.
This is the most bonkers dining experience we have had – but a good one! As part of the residential and hotel Skye Suites, designed by Sydney architect Koichi Takada (but Japanese born), there are a lot of things going on here which are not the norm. The fit out is contrarian, bold and unconventional yet the food is sophisticated, structured and displays experience in technique and subtlty. Well they say opposities attract.. they certainly do here!
Skittle Lane, Sydney NSW 2000
Hours: Wed – Sun 12pm till late