Fleur at The Royal
Fleur – the 45-seat dining room inside The Royal – nails the balance between relaxed and refined.
The room is a mix of timeless and new, natural and human-made floral installations; and paintings of people with flowers bursting from their shirts chime with the restaurant’s name. It’s an ideal backdrop for chef Chase Weber’s intricate cooking.
Although Weber doesn’t care for the rigmaroles of fine dining, he and Fleur head chef Shane Middleton have a firm grasp of kitchen technique and aren’t afraid to flex their muscle.
They’ll dress oysters in oyster cream and yuzu. They’ll grill good-sized Skull Island prawns, dress the crustaceans and use a sauce made from their shells to finish the dish. They’ll turn crab coral into a loose, savoury custard, produce an oil from the creature’s shell, combine them into some sort of magic and make home cooks wonder why they ever binned these alleged “scraps” If it wasn’t obvious, seafood and Japanese flavours – there’s a lot of miso, dashi and soy on the menu – are key motifs even though the kitchen is loath to pigeonhole its cooking style.
A comprehensive drinks list also adds to the fun. The cocktail menu includes half-sized Daiquiris (“snaquiris”) and Martinis (“mar-tinys”) designed for dinnertime enjoyment. The wine list, meanwhile, has the fingerprints of Royal owner John Parker all over it, with drops natural and conventional, local and international.
An eight-seat bar to the side of the dining room is on offer for pre- and post-dinner drinks as well as solo diners. In addition to the à la carte menu, two tasting menus are available.