48 Albion Street, Surry Hills, NSW 2010
Typically more exciting than breakfast staples yet far more relaxed than stuffy dinners and with better light for pictures, lunch is my favourite meal to blog about. Furthermore, I love to make the most of every experience so truncated lunch menus that a small table can exhaust are foremost on my list of favourite things. I must say Assiette certainly covered all these bases to win my heart with its three-course two-choice Friday Lunch ($35).
I opted for a Miso-Glazed Salmon with Buckwheat Noodles, Sesame and Daikon as my starter. Arresting in presentation with a medley of subtle and refined Japanese flavours, it tickled my palate perfectly.
The Pumpkin Soup with Crispy Chicken Wing and Fennel Seeds was a richer, heartier choice. The fennel seeds gave this quintessential comfort food a reinvigorating ethnic zing.
My main came in the form of a Navarin of Lamb in Red Wine, undeniably classic and a safe bet to satisfy. It was elegantly executed and perfectly melt-in-your mouth if somewhat predictable.
The Pan Fried Sea Bream with Pea and Spring Onion Risotto pleased my companions with the Arborio richness and sweet peas balanced by refreshing spring onion sharpness. All that formed a firm stage for the bream to be presented spectacularly unadorned.
Desserts - without a doubt – stole the show. I appreciated the delicate sweetness of the Pear and Almond Tarte Fine with Vanilla Mascarpone. Smooth, vanilla bean-studded mascarpone complemented the fragrant, flaky pastry with more oomph than mere whipped cream ever could have.
However it was the Bread and Butter Pudding with Orange and Cardamom Anglaise that had my heart. At the first bite, you think you have it all figured out as another run-of-the-mill pudding and are about to dismiss it. Then, subtle, delayed and lingering, the sensual spice hits in an almost playful manner. Much like the fennel seeds in the pumpkin soup; cardamom filled this dusty, age-old standard with new life.