Lawfully wedded Brits move double dining act to the CBD
British-born Sydney restaurateurs Adam and Lovaine Humphrey have grown up a little this year. And, oh yeah, they’ve managed to escape divorcing… before they were even married.
First came their wedding, then the stressful relocating of their Walsh Bay restaurant and the building a new one in the CBD. So it’s not surprising that Adam says the new Arras – which opened last week in old Becasse restaurant space on Clarence Street – is a more mature version of their previous waterside eatery, one that mixes the creativity of the original restaurant with new ways to amuse your bouche.
While Arras’s appearance is formal, with prices to match, the restaurant is doing its damnedest to be unstuffy, cool and funky. There’s been a decided move to take the restaurant from its dark past (the moody Walsh Bay fitout, that is) into the light. There are bright white features and a striking, peregrine wall mural by graffiti artist Az One, plus table seating in grandad-style armchairs dressed up in colourful Paul Smith pinstripes.
The menu fuses classic British and European staples with contemporary techniques and local produce. From the degustation menu, expect highlights like roast lamb saddle aubergine, salsify and cardamom, or a poached skate, fennel mousse and remoulade.
Adam – a veteran of Heston Blumenthal’s experimental Fat Duck pleasure house – is up for plenty of play and mischief in the kitchen. He says Arras’ mission is to amuse people, so expect a bit of Willy Wonka in the menu: lollipops, teacakes, jammy dodgers and candy floss make cameos that are particularly appealing after a Singapore Sling or five.
Boredom quickly gets the better of the two chefs, so to challenge diners, they replace a dish as soon it becomes too popular. “Arras is not a place for mindless dining,” Lovaine says. “We want people to interact here, but we also frown at diners who want to be a food critic. It is meant to be a pleasurable experience.”
Where: 204 Clarence St, Sydney
When: Lunch Mon–Fri noon–2.30pm | Dinner Mon–Sat from 6pm
Phone: (02) 9283 1922