One of the great things about dining out in restaurants in Australia is the BYO concept (bring your own). It is quite commonplace in Australia, although at the higher end of the dining scale, a corkage fee is usually charged. BYO makes dining out more affordable and of course ensures that your choice of wine is available. And should you forget to bring your own bottle or simply wish for only a cheeky glass, most restaurants have a wine list too. When dining out at a pricey establishment, this can help to ease the final heartache of the bill whilst allowing you to maintain certain dining standards.
So it was with this in mind that my sister and I tried to decide on which fine dining restaurants we wanted to feast at whilst I was in Sydney. However, we are both born with a foodie DNA, and both quite particular (although some might choose to say fussy). So indecision struck, despite a revamped approach to our dining budget, and I was left to busily browse through the Sydney Good Food Guide (2009) to try and secure a restaurant for a Friday night. Fumbling, I finally stumbled across the entry for Claude’s French Restaurant.
Claude’s French Restaurant opened in 1976, and as one might deduce from the name, serves French cuisine. I last visited Claude’s some ten years ago when it was revered as a destination restaurant. Since then it has placed a new head chef at the helm, so the Claude’s of yesteryear is no more. According to the Sydney Good Food Guide, the new chef Chui Lee Luk is the leading female chef in Australia, ‘bringing vigour and a new level of experimentation to the food’. Surely this promised to be one of the top restaurants in Sydney? My expectations were high and we set off with our own bottle in tow.