REVIEW: AMARU, ARMADALE
A somewhat far cry from 20-something year old me who once spent over $1000 on fine dining within a week, these splurges now usually only come about on my travels or to celebrate a special occasion. And even then, nowhere near that amount. Responsible adulting and all… cough. One such occasion recently arose with a good friend’s brief return to Melbourne, and we decided on a luxe lunch date at Amaru to mark the occasion. With extra truffle on top. Not some form of figure of speech - we literally forked out extra for some truffle shavings, which were in season during the timing of our visit.
Not wanting to be in a food coma for the rest of the day, we opted for the smaller but still substantial Insight Menu.
Like other fine dining establishments, the appetisers were where the bar was set, providing some tasty insight into the culinary creativity of the chef and menu ahead.
Presentation of the hand shelled Mud Crab was gorgeously stripped back; white plate with white foam masking the silky tendrils of crab, lentils and grains underneath.
Opting in for the truffle addition, our servings of the lamb sweetbread were accompanied with heavy-handed shavings of fresh truffle, adding a boost of fragrant umami presence to the dish. The silky puree blend and lamb brains made for quite a rich and creamy pairing that rapidly built after the first few bites or so - a touch too overwhelming for my liking.
An absolute standout was the house baked sourdough, served with an airy light whipped fermented butter and olive oil. While I’m usually a butter-over-olive-oil kinda gal, Amaru’s olive oil and honey blend easily rivalled the whipped butter. On any other day if we weren’t partaking in multiple courses, I would’ve said yes to seconds on the bread without batting an eyelid. If it was offered as an a la carte option, I would promptly return for an entire meal of bread, butter, olive oil and honey.
The Red Kangaroo, teamed with a hazelnut crust and piece of charred radicchio encasing quite a sweet blend of onion, was beautifully prepared, super tender and an utter delight to eat. The dish also came with an extra dollop of quince paste, but this largely remained untouched given the sweeter flavour palette of the plate.
Shiitake, sandalwood AND truffle doesn’t quite leap off the page as a dessert option but initial impressions can be, and were in this case, deceiving. Extremely so. The earthy, umami flavours actually worked together harmoniously to deliver another highlight of our meal. The balanced addition of caramel and sandalwood praline were the exact bells and whistles that sold me on this dish, adding a minimal touch of sweetness and oomph in the texture department. Genius.
Onion / Garfish / Sheep’s Milk Yoghurt.
Fermented Carrot / Lightly smoked duck ham.
Smoked Eel / Kohlrabi / Apple.
Dim Sim / Black Garlic / Natural Yeast.
Hand shelled Mud Crab / Hemp seed / Artichoke .
Lamb Sweetbread / Salt-Baked Celeriac / Victorian Eel, supplemented with Black Truffle.
Red Kangaroo / Hazelnut / Raw Liquorice.
Otway Shiitake / Sandalwood / Cacao / Black Truffle.
Pumpkin Caramel // Olive Oil Pastille.
1121 High St,
Armadale, Victoria, 3143.
+61 3 9822 0144