Arthur has 40 seats, does two sittings, offers a 12-course set menu fixed at $70, and has an ambitious chef. Opening a restaurant with a set menu is not the norm, and it might sound like this is a formal dining experience, but it’s not. It doesn’t look traditionally high-end, either. It’s decidedly casual.
Arthur’s energetic and determined young owners are Bec Fanning and her partner Tristan Rosier, who was formerly head chef at Kings Cross’s Farmhouse and Surry Hills’ Dead Ringer, and who learned his trade at fine diner Est and Biota in Bowral.
His food is an evolution of what is called modern-Australian cuisine – a culturally indistinct style that’s based on Australian produce and simple, ingredient-forward cooking. It’s not particularly elaborate, spicy or saucy.
No dish is likely to outlast a season (besides the house-made sourdough and butter). Dishes in the past have included fried globe artichoke with aioli, kangaroo tartar with pickled cucumber and a dark tomato relish, grilled prawns with romesco, and beef short ribs with mash and sprouts. The 12 courses come out in roughly five stages. As soon as the drinks hit the table the food is sent out.
From the bar – a handsome marble island in the middle of the front dining room – it’s local-only booze. There’s a three-item cocktail roster (Negroni, G&T and a spritz) and a tight list of light wines written by Restaurant Hubert’s Nathan Kam.