Ph: 9331 2325
Bar: Tues to Sat 6-11pm, Sat & Sun 12-3pm
Restaurant: Wed to Sat 6.30-11pm
So how long has it been? How long have we wanted to dine at Claude's - the answer is, a very long time.
Truth be told, I'm so ancient I could have visited when Damien and Josephine Pignolet were in their first flush of greatness.
It has only taken 31 years, but we are finally making the visit.
Sure, much has changed in that time - we completely missed the Tim Pak Poy years and current owner and Executive Chef Chui Lee Luk has been successfully running the restaurant since 2004 - but better late than never I say!
So for our first visit we have decided on a leisurely Saturday lunch in the downstairs bar section (we shall save the upstairs fine diner for another time).
We arrive at around 12.45pm and our first surprise is a parking spot right outside the door, this is such a rarity in Sydney that we are dumbstruck for a while.
Our second surprise occurs when we enter the restaurant and are greeted by Louise Tamayo, who made our visit to Becasse last year, such a memorable experience.
Once seated, we embark on the difficult decision of what to order - there is simply too much that we want to try.
We decide to kick things of with the House Made Pickles (gin cucumber, oyster mushroom in soy & jackfruit in mustard) - absolutely delicious. The light pickling and subtle saltiness really awakens the palate.
Next up we have Charcuterie, on this occasion Duck terrine and Chicken liver parfait. The terrine is rich, meaty and ever so slightly fatty, while the parfait is so light and lusciously creamy - it just feels so indulgent.
Fried Chicken with Cashew and Curry Leaf is truly spectacular.The golden crunchy exterior encasing juicy, tender thigh meat - it is a thing of beauty. The curry leaf adds just that hint of spice, accentuated by the sweet nuttiness of the cashew.
Next up is the almost favourite of the day - Spanner Crab with burnt butter crumbs on french toast.
The burnt butter crumbs and french toast are to die for, so rich and, well, buttery! The sweet delicate crab, oddly, isn't overpowered by the flavours; all components of the dish merge beautifully.
The highlight of the meal comes with the arrival of the Beef Short Rib. Unctuously delicious, it sits on top of a stickily divine Cabernet sauce & is topped with the most gorgeous cafe de paris butter. Yes we have died and gone to heaven.
We always love a cheese course, but sometimes we just can't manage - thankfully today is not one of those days.
The Toma della Rocca is sublime. A combination of cow, goat and sheep milk - it is soft, creamy with a slight acidic hit. We love it.
Our first dessert is the Burnt honey Souffle with white rum cream. This is possibly the best souffle we have tried - it is incredibly light with no hint of egginess (something we loathe in a souffle) - the honey flavour is prominent, but not overpowering & the white rum cream we could drink by the bucket load.
Next, the Lemon Custard and we have another winner. The baked curd delivers a full blown citrus hit, curbed ever so slightly by the Jersey Milk Ice. The crunch provided by the meringues adds both texture and a slightly savoury flavour. Fantastic.
While Buggles lays defeated I have room for one more treat - the ice of the day - which today is blueberry. Creamy, lightly flavoured and a bargain at just $4 - I love every glorious mouthful.
It goes with out saying that the service we receive from Louise is sensational - warm, friendly and incredibly knowledgeable; she really makes every dining experience that much more enjoyable.
Louise also informs us that Claude's has managed to land the services of one of our favourites from the Bentley crew, Abby Goodwin.
Claude's has now got to be one of the top contenders for Sydney's best waitstaff.