Two-hatted Claude’s remakes its image with a pop-up gallery
Claude’s in Woollahra has been one of Sydney’s longstanding traditions, an award-winning, intimate, French-leaning fine diner that has consistently been home to top chefs, from Damien Pignolet (Bistro Moncur) to Tim Pak Poy and the current kitchen queen, owner-chef Chui Lee Luk. Tradition, however, is about the get a big shake-up.
Luk has already ditched the secretive blinds of this blink-and-you-miss-it space on Oxford Street, and now she’s opening up the room further with a translucent door. Reverential fine dining is also getting the boot: Luk is making the food more approachable by adding an a la carte menu to the degustation-only experience, and tapping more into her Chinese-Malaysia heritage – continuing her shift away from Claude’s Francophile roots. That’s a big call for a two-hatted restaurant.
Putting an exclamation mark on how much the restaurant is about to change, Claude’s, starting tomorrow, is holding a special pop-up art instalment called Liminal Space – a partnership with Jordana Maisie. The Berlin-based Australian artist has lugged in a small truckload of soil (she used 1300 litres of dirt for the work’s Berlin debut last year) to create a ‘carpet’ across the floor, installed LED lights and strewn the place with a wire network. Think electric meets organic.
If it all sounds a bit out there, well, that’s kind of the point – Luk says she’s been erring on the site of caution when it comes to evolving Claude’s, but now the kid gloves are off. It’s also an invitation for the general public to come in and view a dining room that’s been hidden to anyone who hadn’t ponied up for the 9-course tasting menu.
The exhibit is free to those who want to check it out. Visitors can also pair the installation with mastication – dinners will be held amid Maisie’s wonderland, providing sneak peaks at Luk’s new cooking direction, from bass groper & diamond clam parcels to fennel pollen & cucumber broth. Like the surrounds, expect art on the plate.
Where: Claude’s, 10 Oxford St, Woollahra
Hours: Tue-Sat 7.30-10.30pm or by appt | 7-19 Jun
Price: Exhibit, free | Dinner, $110 five courses, $135 eight courses
Phone: (02) 9331 2325