Thursday, 25 June 2009


Becasse requires a couple of day’s salary. Plan B for a bit of pocket money. Now Etch, Justin North’s sensibly priced “bistro” that shines in the beautifully refurbished space courtesy of the 5 star InterContinental. A perfect union of old in the cathedral windows with plush modern carpet that invites you to have a sleep and oversized tubular light pendants lined with funky floral designs gives the most exciting dining rooms I’ve seen in quite a while.

However, Etch is more like Becasse than Plan B. Good in its class but not outstanding. Everything is restrained, flavours held on a leash. The produce is fantastic and not to be faulted, yet it doesn’t have that spark. Squid is double dipped in spices first in a batter then gently fried to a crisp, bought out further by a paprika mayo. Prawn cocktail stylish, the chilled crustacean amongst a salad and drizzled with a fresh in house cocktail sauce. A croquette of gamey shredded duck encapsulated in a thick crumbly shell more like a glorified chicko roll, sauce gribiche of a creamy mayo finished with mustard, parsley and tarragon adds class. Tried and tested game meat and fruit combination, this time its grilled quail on the bone with a pear vinaigrette.

Wagyu, organic and dry aged for 6 weeks lovely, the marbled fat cooked off to flavour the meat, a light café de paris butter just enough Dijon tang to compliment. For dessert, cheese platter will please. An adventurous caramel date tart that comes with a burnt butter ice cream and a strong Earl Grey tea infused syrup. Spoon cupped mousse/ganache dubbed chocolate velvet a luxurious texture for the mouth, sugared donuts for textural contrast and a citrus yuzu curd provides an acid balance. Indulgent.

While Becasse wasn’t all that memorable, Plan B is unforgettable. Fittingly, this mid-level offering from Mr North is inbetween, where you won’t remember some parts, whilst others will be etched forever in your mind.

2.5 / 5 yums!
Where? 62 Bridge Street, Sydney, NSW
What? Entrees $17, Mains $30, Desserts $15

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