Walking into Clooney is like entering into a secret location. Tucked away on the quiet end of Sale Street, the front door is hidden amongst dark walls and tinted windows; it’s a place that you can easily miss if you weren’t looking for it. The first time I dined at Clooney in 2010, I recall being mesmerised by the stunning interior. Dim lighting, round tan leather banquettes, black fringe curtains and high ceilings; the place screams out sophistication, and three years down the line, Clooney still has the same WHOA factor.
My friends recently got engaged, so we decided to celebrate their engagement with a lovely dinner at Clooney. As we were a big group, we were seated in the intimate private dining room and ordered from their three course set menu ($95 per person) with three options for entrée, four for main and three for dessert.
My quail and duck ham entrée was served with foie gras, celeriac puree and pieces of toasted hazelnut; it was utterly phenomenal. First and foremost, quail is not a meat that I eat very often, restaurants that I have come across rarely serve quail; this is quite a shame as quail is such a delicious meat and in my mind, a better choice compared to chicken as it has a subtle hint of gaminess. The quail was moist, tender and flavourful and although I enjoyed the duck ham, I wished that there were more quail on the plate. The luscious foie gras presented inside a delicate crispy shell and pieces of toasted hazelnut made this dish complete and the perfect course to start our meal.
For main, I decided to try something different and ordered the razorback pork. I seldom order pork at restaurants because more often than not, the meat is dry, tough and overcooked. So, to my pleasant surprise, Clooney’s version of pork is delectable. Served slightly pink, the meat was moist and slightly undercooked. The pieces of crackling were light and airy and the creamy artichoke puree was a good compliment to the flavours of the pork. Our mains were served with several complimentary sides.
My night ended with a deconstructed feijoa crumble with salted apple, rosemary and ginger. In terms of taste and aroma, feijoa is distinctive and strong, and because of this, the other flavours were not very evident in the dessert. The feijoa was prepared in different ways; the smooth feijoa puree hidden at the bottom was tart and added a soft sour kick to the pannacotta and the slices of freeze-dried feijoa provided a distinctive texture without introducing more ingredients. I have to admit, the dessert looked rather chaotic on the plate and the dust-like crumble was hard to eat without flying everywhere.
To say that I was impressed with Clooney is an understatement. All aspects of my dining experience, including atmosphere, food and service, were superb and it was a great way to celebrate this special occasion.
Date: Friday 14th June 2013 | Location: 33 Sale Street, Freemans Bay | Food: Contemporary Fine Dining