It was to be a very special Christmas lunch, so I chose for us Automata, as one of the SMH Good Food Guide’s 2016 best new restaurants – awarded two hats in its first 12 months.
Bookings are easy on line for groups of 1-6 and while there’s a more private mezzanine level, the bar downstairs is more fun.
From here diners can watch the well oiled team that works so well together – like an automatron perhaps?
Certainly the wait staff who looked after our table knew their dishes and wines very well, were thoughtful, highly professional and and full of interesting details about this new venture.
For example did you know that the Good Food Guide features team member Yuri’s forearms with one of Automata’s own dishes?
Or that Automata is the dream of Chef Clayton Wells who restores motorcycles- hence the Ducati caps on the ceiling, and the decor that reflects the mechanically themed spaces – the internal workings of a great machine!
Particularly well deserving of his award of the Champagne Taittinger Sommelier of the Year was Tim Watkins who guided us through our menu and helped us match our wines perfectly.
Automata offers a constantly changing five course menu for $88 available at dinner and Friday – Saturday lunch. The menu seeks to showcase the best of local, seasonal produce.
Wine pairing is also available, as is a parred down three course express lunch menu for $55. However I don’t suggest the three course option if you are planning a leisurely, relaxed affair- it’s a very much a quicker experience.
In addition to the five courses there is some lovely wholemeal and malt bread with whipped butter with chicken and anchovy …
…and Chefs Starters – today of cherry tomato in salted plum marinade – wrapped in a sesame leaf and marinated enoki mushrooms with pork jewel fat and rosemary.
First course was a fresh dish of asparagus, fermented pumpkin, shiso.
Second came the amaebi, parsley, fennel & ink – my favourite course.
Next was the john dory, eggplant, burnt carrot, olive herb – also a gorgeous dish.
Fourth dish was smoked duck, red cabbage, caramelised lemon & long pepper.
Finally the yoghurt sorbet, grapes, raspberries & yuzu was a perfect end to the meal.
Automata is a very easy walk from Central, tucked in amongst the elegant terraces of street food Spice Alley ( much like visiting Malacca) and Kensington Street Social.