I was fortunate to be invited by Aria Restaurant for their Culinary Journey promotion – the third of the lot, featuring rustic Italian cuisine by celebrity chef Theo Randall of London. :) Aria is located in the lobby of the Crowne Plaza Hotel – the tasteful decor and warm lighting made for a relaxed but sophisticated setting, great for date night! The service was faultless, warm and welcoming but professional.
I opted for Theo’s menu (2 courses + a cocktail), while the boy ordered from the a la carte menu. We shared an entree of scallops with braised chili, parsley, lentils and tomato. The scallops were divine – pan seared to perfection while retaining their juicy, slightly translucent centre. Unfortunately neither of us is particularly a fan of lentils (and there were a lot of them!), but that’s really just a personal preference – I’d definitely order this dish again, just without the lentils.
My main was Theo’s rack of lamb with rosemary and salsa verde – this dish was the star of the evening in our opinion. Encrusted in herbs that imparted flavour without being too overwhelming, the lamb was a perfect medium rare, tender and juicy. The boy’s whole baby snapper was certainly fresh and delicious, however it was a tad dry despite the salsa verde and lemon that was served with it. I’d still commend it due to its novelty (it’s fairly rare to find a place serving whole baby snapper around these parts) but IMO the lamb wins hands down.
For dessert, they had a problem with the panna cotta that evening, so I chose from the a la carte menu instead. I had the orange blossom (caramel orange bavaroise, orange almond cake, passion fruit sponge, blood orange gel), which was gorgeous – tart without being too sour, and a good mix of textures. Ditto with my partner’s hazelnut dacquiose (hazelnut cremeux, salted caramel, chocolate cream, smoked praline, raspberry and pomegranate sorbet) – the cremeux was amazing, silky smooth and oh-so-sinful, oozing with salted caramel, and prettily decorated.
A lovely evening, all in all. I’d heartily recommend visiting before Theo Randall’s menu is over (15 Nov)!
Disclaimer: We were offered a complimentary dinner as part of the invitation. However, the above opinions are genuinely mine, not dictated in any way, shape or form by the restaurant.
|Cost:||$40 – $60 pp|
|Value for money:|