“People try and reinvent the wheel sometimes, and you don’t have to,” explains owner/chef Nelly Robinson when I quiz him on his beetroot, white balsamic and goat’s cheese dish. It’s a classic combination that suddenly isn’t boring, what with dueling beetroots, airy, whipped goat’s cheese, crisp brik pastry and a dab of raspberry taking it somewhere new. The 29-year-old’s highly worked 8-course Menu ($88/head) runs the gamut from pressed and crumbed pig’s head batons: ‘green peas, ham’, all the way to ‘pistachio, white corn and cherry’: a surprisingly delicious heap of chocolate soil, fairy floss, pistachio ice cream, cherries and marzipan, summoning Black Forest gâteau. It’s delivered to you in a stylish fine dining-lite basement setting, by an experienced floor team. The Matched Wine Package ($80/head) is a must-have, and not just because you get an amazing two wines per dish. “We go to wine auctions and look for obscure things,” says gun Restaurant Manager Che Vogler. He’s picked a lovely, easy-drinking wine in the 2013 Curlewis ‘Bel Sel’ Pinot Noir to match chef’s venison carpaccio with pepper, chocolate and pickled enoki, but it’s the companion 2012 Domaine Bertagna Haute Cotes de Nuits ‘Les Dames Huguettes’ that really complements the dish. Debating the best wine match provides fabulous at-the-table fun, before advancing to other forms of ‘conscious coupling’.
75 Wentworth Avenue, Sydney
Ph: (02) 9212 2206 nelrestaurant.com.au
Modern Australian $$$