Armorica Grand Brasserie is the venue I decided to have dinner at with a few foodie friends for my 40th. When they call it ‘grand’, they’re not wrong! The 150 seat venue is magnificent with its lavish decor, red-leather banquettes, brass fittings, timber ceilings, marble tables and counters, and beautiful art (commissioned to American illustrator David Plunkert).
Named after a Celtic region of France, or at the time, Gaul. It was a location in ancient times between the Seine and the Loire. Today at this restaurant, it feels like you’re in France and not surprising that this is brought to us by the same team of Franca and Parlar in Potts Point, but this venue is in Surry Hills on the site that was once Japanese restaurant Toko.
There’s dozens of staff, a few greet you at the door, there’s a specific member for your table, and alot behind the bar and kitchen, so it’s no wonder they’re efficient with getting the food out to you fast. We like that.
The menu features plenty of opulent options from oysters, lobster and caviar to a towering seafood platter or high grade wagyu and truffle.
From the entrees there’s a few cold options such as foie gras or a very pretty octopus roulade, or the options we went for; coral trout crudo; flavoured with finger lime and chilli in addition to the beef tartare. These were nice and light options to begin and also great for sharing. The entree list does feature hot options too, and our dining party was keen on the duck rigatoni. Whilst it was quite light on the slow roasted duck, it was a tasty option and worked well with the Provençal bread that we used to mop up the excess sauce.
For the larger options they have pastas, made in house – such as spaghetti with scampi. There’s quite a few seafood options and we thought the Murray Cod was exceptional. Light and beautifully cooked, topped with salsa verde and guindilla.
On another note, the whole chicken was stunning. Perfectly cooked, moist flesh, and topped with a gravy made from desert lime, chicken skin & thyme.
Following this we had a 1kg steak, cooked medium rare, served sliced, so it was perfect to share. There’s numerous steak options, and also some on the daily specials list. Whether it be Black Angus sirloin, Wagyu Scotch fillet or the Bavette we got, undoubtedly the meat here is excellent.
It is all served with a choice of bone-marrow butter, béarnaise or mushroom sauce and fries. As we were a large dining party, we ordered quite a few of their sides to share; the leaf salad with jardinière, Champagne vinaigrette, grilled mushrooms with truffle butter, crispy chat potatoes made with duck fat and thyme, Creamed spinach with pine nuts and bullhorn pepper and the tomato gratin that was topped with Provençal crumb. We did order fries (but they never came – as the side dish or with the steak??).
But what inspired me to come here was the “chocolate bullion” that I had seen all over instagram. The pastry chef Travin De Hoedt has created a chocolate bar made from Valrhona chocolate mousse, salted caramel and choc-chip cookie, and sealed with Armorica branding into the chocolate layer. As you put your spoon into it, you can see all the layers and fillings and the caramel just makes this pop! I think the chocolate would be too rich to just have yourself, so sharing it is the perfect option.
Whilst there are 5 dessert options, the stand out was something unexpected for me, not something I’d ordinarily order. Their ‘Clafoutis’ is unreal! A warm baked tart, quite cake like, nice and sweet with berries, pistachio praline ice cream and pistachio.
There’s a long wine list and cocktails too. My cocktail was so lovely, but polished off in about 2 sips. It was the ‘Metropolitan’, made with Belvedere Vodka, Davidson plum, lemon aspen, elderflower.
The food was honestly so good, we cannot fault it. The venue is stunning, but we did feel the ambience was all a bit loud. With so many diners, that’s to be expected. Certainly an excellent venue, and best as a group to share multiple dishes.
490 Crown Street
Surry Hills, Sydney
Friday – Sunday
Tuesday – Sunday