Something for the Herbivores – YELLOW Restaurant, Potts Point
57 Macleay St., Potts Point, NSW
Chef: Brent Savage
Hats: 1 Hat
On a completely random Thursday, a last minute decision saw me with a table for two at the reputable YELLOW restaurant in Potts Point. The restaurant has gained attention with its decision go vegetarian and vegan only (*gasp*) for its night time menu. Rest assured the breakfast and lunch menu have hints of animal flesh including housemade bacon. However for diners, this is one destination that you can indulge in fantastical vegetarian dishes without judgement.
Yellow is part of The Bentley group of restaurants including Pookie’s favourite, the sleek and sophisticated Monopole restaurant and fancy pants The Bentley. Highly awarded Chef, Brent Savage, is the culinary mastermind behind the switch to vegetarian (and vegan). His imaginative approach and deft skills at spinning a pea into a sublimely delicate mousse is second to few.
If you have taken the time to read some of the Foodie Mookie blogs, you will know that I have flirted with vegetarianism for decades so my Mookie senses were heightened as I entered the dimly lit entrance to partake in Chef Brent Savage’s meat-free menu. The art deco (and historical) building is immediately at odds with my fine dining expectation, however I begin to warm to the atmosphere with the dark surroundings, moody murmurs and nook-like dining layout.
We decided to try the share-plate a la carte menu rather than degustation (similar to Ester, you choose a number of smaller and large dishes to share). Quick to the table was ‘Seaweed Crisps and mushroom’ with a puffy lightness and rich flavour than became moreish after a few bites. This was closely followed by ‘Pea Mousse, pickled daikon and toasted Buttermilk’. Such a beautiful dish with sweet pea on the front of the palette with a lingering fresh radish that tickled my nostrils on the back.
When I had my first degustation at the now defunct, Cafe Paci (Chef Pasi Petanen), one of the menu items was toasted cabbage. My deep cynicism of this dish’s worthiness of being a course in a degustation was smacked off my face when I took the first mouthful. Yellow’s next dish of ‘Smoked cabbage, finger lime and cavolo nero’, was of a similar ilk with the smoke bringing out a depth of flavour in the cabbage that made it taste so close to meat, that it’s was a little startling. The heaviness was beautifully complimented by a near perfect finger lime to cabbage ratio which burst with sour and citric to break up the richness.
We completed our set of mains with ‘Jerusalem artichoke, pressed curd and laver’ and ‘black rice, celtuce and koji’. Both were excellent. At this time we were surprised with how full we felt without eating a scrap of meat. Of course, we had to partake in some sweetness…
We chose two from the four dessert options including a delicious light ‘Yoghurt parfait, mandarin and sichuan’ which was a lovely yet curious combination of sour, creamy, sweet and peppery. The ‘Whipped coconut, carrot sorbet and cake’ was also reminiscent of the signature dessert at Cafe Paci – Carrot. Yogurt. Licorice. Both desserts were an excellent way to end this impromptu dinner.
Yellow was even better than I expected. It has to be a challenge for any chef in this city to create delicious and flavoursome vegetarian dishes that satisfy Sydneysiders’ lust for top quality flesh in their fine dining restaurants. Yellow is an exceptional demonstration of what a whole lot of talent and a fearless first step can do to not only an individual restaurant; but also an entire city’s fine dining mentality.