I was among the few foodie lovers who were invited to take part in ARIA's new Autumn Tasting Dinner Menu. The challenging part of this fine dining undertaking was to withhold my excitement and truly experience the dishes for all that they were. It was a matter of setting aside the fact that it's an award winning restaurant along with its celebrity ownership from Matthew Moran and restaurateur Peter Sullivan.
Arriving precisely on time (thanks to the traffic) I was greeted by the welcoming staff who chauffeured me to our intimate table at the back of the restaurant.
Each dish was complimented by a matched wine along with a speil from Head Chef, Ben Russell revealing the key ingredients.
ARIA prides itself in offering a well-balanced seasonal menu, featuring local and Australian produce. Russell explained that when they are developing a new menu they start with "what's in season and what's available and [they] work backwards from there."
He also mentioned that the times have changed when sourcing produce, "It's back to supporting the locals. Favouring our local suppliers is what everyone is doing."
The menu changes every four months according to ARIA's Event Manager, Mandi Harris.
"We are always working on a new menu. And on average we work on four new dishes a week," said ARIA's Head Chef, Ben Russell.
The teams dedication to perfection is quite outstanding along with the perfectly executed dishes which are more like works of art.
Wide eyed and hungry our group of ladies witnessed our first dish, a surprise appetizer, Prawn and Squid Ink Cracker with Hommus and Chorizo Chips. In my own words, "It's the perfect starter and because of its 'wow' factor - it was an excellent ice breaker for our table."
Next, a White Sour Dough Bread with an accompanying creamy butter arrived and not long after we were treated to the Cured and Scorched Kingfish with Miso, Cucumber and Radish. Head Chef, Ben Russell informed us that he passed a blow torch across the surface of the Kingfish and very lightly scorched the flesh. It was an array of flavours dashing back and forth from a sweetness and a bitterness.
The Smoked Duck Liver Parfait and Foie Gras with Maple and Apple had a distinguished taste. It was another divine appetizer to enjoy before the main meal rolled in.
According to Russell, the main dish is a "simple seasonal fish." I think not, because the Snapper Steamed Fillet with Fenel, Mustard and Red Onion was cooked to perfection. There was an Ice Plant added to the plate - simply to amuse us with something new but the dish was an explosion of the flavours. The onions complimented the snapper in such a luxurious way.
At this point it's near the end of the Tasting Dinner Menu, and I can't choose which is my favourite dish thus far. Each is elaborate and different in their own right but then we were brought (in my opinion) the star plate of the night. Let me introduce you to the beef treat, Smoked Wagyu Short Rib with Daikon, Spinach and Parika. It was the most incredible smokey flavoured piece of meat I have ever savoured. Cooked for 24 hours, it literally falls apart in your mouth. It's insanely amazing!
A few of the comments that were thrown around the table about this delicious number was, "It doesn't get more tender than this." "It's cooked to perfection." "It's so comforting."
Lastly we were presented with dessert, a Poached Rhubarb with Ricotta Ice Cream and Beetroot Marshmallow.
According to Head Chef Ben Rusell this was a "simple dessert" but judging purely from the visual result it was a work of art.
The ARIA speaks for itself but when combined with a modern and delectable Autumn Menu, stylish and sophisticated views, along with a passionate team and impressive service - it truly is one of the most quality experiences you can find in Brisbane.
For more information visit ariarestaurant.com/brisbane