Tuesday, April 9, 2013


For my 21st birthday, I was lucky enough to have a surprise reservation at the well renowned Attica. A restaurant that has been highly recommended to me and has had a long standing place on my 'Places to go' list. My boyfriend being the attentive, sneaky but adorable boyfriend he is had made a tentative booking since January. I could not be more grateful for having him in my life.

I adored the simplicity of all the dishes at Attica. We naturally went for the 8 course degustation. We found everything was quite minimalist but the complexities and depth of flavours astonish you. 

Our first amuse bouche embodied that very concept. It was a simple dish of Sorrel leaves from their very own garden and housemade creme fraiche. At first it felt strange just eating a single leaf, but the taste took me by surprise. My palate was ready for more!

The next dish was appropriately named 'The Walnut' which came with adorable tiny pickled carrots.
The inside of the walnut is revealed to us by staff and inside is a delicious walnut reduction.

Our final amuse bouche would have to be one of my favourites in terms of presentation. It was a crumbed mussel but the presentation just resonated with me. The simplicity of it, the colours, the contrast, it was all put together so beautifully. The face is painted on a mussel shell and I couldn't help admiring it until our server sadly took the plate away. I'm still wondering whether or not it's Ben Shewry's face....

Our first dish was Western Australian Snow Crab, Shiitake, Eleven Basils and Buckwheat. The delicate crab meat was lovely, which goes well with the strong flavours of the basils and shiitake broth. The added texture of the buckwheat really  brought everything together.

The next dish was Marron and Fermented Corn. A very luxurious dish centred on a succulent piece of Marron. The rich sauce was the perfect accompaniment. 

Our next dish was called  'A simple dish of Potato cooked in the earth it was grown'. There was nothing fancy or complicated about this dish, it just let the flavours and textures speak for itself. The potato tasted amazing and my knife glided through it like butter. I savoured every bite.

This was followed by a dish of Cucumbers, Sauce of Burnet and Dried River Trout. A lovely zesty dish filled with gorgeous shades of green. The dried river trout was not overpowering and went well with the crunchy cucumbers. This dish even impressed my boyfriend who's quite a meat-loving man.

Next was King George Whiting in Paperbark. The fish came to us folded in an envelope of paperbark and we opened it up to release an intoxicating buttery aroma. I ate this dish slowly from left to right, savouring each morsel of fish. 

Our final main waas Flinders Island Wallaby, Scorched Macadamia and Ground Berry. This was my first time eating Wallaby and I enjoyed it alot. It's a very lean meat so it was of course served rare but it was still tender and delicious, not bloody at all. I was pleasantly surprised at how well macadamia and berry went with wallaby. 

Before dessert, we were asked if we'd like a tour of the Attica garden out back, we of course agreed and I excitedly made my way past all the diners, the kitchen and out the back door. 

There we were introduced to one of their chefs and he gave us a fantastic apple tea and a housemade vanilla and coconut marshmallow to roast on a fire. It was so much fun chatting with the chef and admiring the lush greenery of their garden. We discussed skydiving, Thomas Keller and admired their mural on the wall. It was a pleasure to know that all 11 basils from our crab dish was grown in that very spot.

When we sat back at our table our dessert was Fresh Curd Ice Cream and Blueberries covered in beautiful chrysanthemum petals. There were fresh and dehydrated blueberries, which gave the dish some bite. The flavours were so lovely and fresh.

Our next dessert had us wondering since the beginning of the evening. It is simply called 'Plight of the Bees' so we assumed it involved honey but we could have never imagined it would be such an exquisite dessert.
It was a multi-layered sensation using 2 different kinds of honey. I had no idea what each individual layer was but the deeper my spoon went in the more surprises I discovered, like a sorbet and a wafer like layer.

Thus the end of our degustation came around and to our delight I was offered the option of an extra dessert. Of course, I couldn't refuse and what was called Ben's interpretation of an Afghan biscuit appeared before me. It was fantastic, the textures and the chocolate! Oh, the chocolate! I greedily spooned this dessert down completely forgetting how full I was from all the previous courses. 

Dinner for us naturally ends with a lovely cup of Jasmine tea and yet another surprise from Ben. A delightful white chocolate egg filled with salted caramel. The egg is speckled to look like a Pukeko egg, which embodies Ben's philosophy as a chef. All of this is explained on the back of a painting of the Pukeko bird given to you at the end of the evening.


Eating at Attica wasn't just a dining experience, I felt as  if i was admiring the works of an artist whilst walking through a museum. The interior of the restaurant is mostly black including the walls and the curtains. Coupled with the single spotlight above you, the masterpieces before you are the truly focus of your attention. 

Ben Shewry's appreciation for art is apparent from the mural of his inspiration in the garden and his father's painting of the Pukeko bird that they give you a copy of. Ben might not be a painter but he is a truly inspired chef. Our waiter told us stories of how he dreams up creations during his 3 hour commute home and how everything is perfected on his experimental degustations on Tuesday nights. I could not ask for a more dedicated chef but I only wish that my dreams were so magical as well.