My partner and I enjoyed the four-course menu, although two- and three-course options are available, along with a seven-course tasting menu. I started with the Sydney rock oysters with aged red wine vinegar — they were plump and sweet, much preferable to briny when beginning a meal packed with so many flavours. My partner tried the yellow fin tuna with miso and radish; it was tender, ruby-red, and so good he refused to share.
Next came grilled kangaroo with pepper, pear, and witlof for me.
My partner ordered the Moreton Bay bugs, shiitake, and seaweed butter. There was much to praise about our dinner, but the bugs were easily one of the standouts. They were smoky and succulent, paired with the nuanced notes of the mushroom for a dish I could happily eat every night.
If there is to be any criticism of Aria’s new menu, it is the difficulty posed by settling on a main. My partner and I, after wavering between the roast duck with red cabbage, rhubarb, and pecan, and the snapper with green olive and capers, both settled on options from the grill. Though I have never considered Aria a steak restaurant, my Cape Byron fillet was one of the juiciest, most flavourful cuts I’ve encountered in Brisbane.
We finished with the passionfruit, coconut, and buttermilk dessert from pastry chef Nicole Daldy. Light and refreshing, it is the perfect way to conclude such a varied, inventive meal.
The wine list caters to the bold, the novices, the well-nosed oenophiles, or to those who want to skip it entirely and dive into a cocktail list with a litany of crafted choices. This is in no small part thanks to sommelier Ian Trinkle, who recently won the Good Food Guide Award for Best Wine List in Australia, making a list of more than 1000 vintages accessible to, well, everybody.
It would be an oversight to write about Aria and not commend the level of service and the ambiance; we dined on a rainy evening, though that did not diminish the understated elegance. A meal at Aria seems like a temporary respite from the quotidian, and with such an enticing new menu, there are plenty of reasons to return.
Read more about Aria’s recent Good Food Guide Award here.