Olive oil, chocolate, bread. When you see these ingredients together on a dessert menu it's hard to know what to expect. But when you're dining at 12-Micron, you need to be happy to relinquish control and put your trust in the chef's hands.
The menu at 12-Micron is simply a list of the main ingredients in each dish, so you're left blissfully unaware about exactly what will turn up on your plate. Take the olive oil, chocolate and bread combo — this dish presents as a rich olive oil-infused chocolate ganache served with olive oil jelly, 'toast' ice cream, olive oil polverón biscuits and two piles of smoked salt ($18). Every element of the dessert is delicious on its own (even the smoked salt) but, combined, it's a pretty marvellous blend of textures and rich chocolate flavours. One of 12 options on the dessert menu — along with a tart and light gin and tonic concoction with lemon, lime and cucumber — you could easily bypass mains altogether and go straight to the three-, five- or seven-course dessert degustation.
If you do decide to dine in reverse, jump back to second course for the menu item titled: Moreton Bay bug, prawn, crustacean sauce. In essence, this is a pasta dish — but, again, it's not what you're expecting. The flavours are quite delicate and the crustacean sauce isn't heavy and creamy like you find on so many prawn pasta dishes, so it's a great option even if you aren't the biggest seafood fan. But if you are, the kingfish cured in black garlic with lemon cream, salmon roe, finger lime and jalapeños ($22) adds a little bit of punch to the natural flavours of the fish and is a perfectly unconventional way to finish.
The dishes, decor and drinks at 12-Micron all showcase native Australian elements and are as nice on the eyes as they are on the palate. The cocktail list focuses on two spectrums, smoky and sweet, though the Smoking Chaplin with Plymouth Sloe Gin, Védrenne apricot brandy, lime and rosella jam ($20) is so sweet it could pass as the 13th option on the dessert menu.
While 12-Micron considers themselves to be casual, the space is far more grandiose than it is letting on; the restaurant has capacity for 500 people, separate kitchens for savoury and sweets, and a standalone bar and balcony that looks out over the water at Barangaroo. There's also nothing casual about the rare wool fibre that hangs from the roof and sends waves of light through the restaurant — but it does occupy an entire level in Barangaroo's new Tower One, so the large scale and highly stylised aesthetic comes with the territory. Interior architects SJB have well to blend native Australian flowers and wood with the cityscape and concrete surrounds. One area where 12-Micron has kept it casual is the wine list — it's long, but it's purposely accessible for wine lovers of all levels.
12-Micron may not be our pick for a casual night out, but it is certainly an easy and memorable option. With lots of tables, their three-course express lunch and their location in the middle of Barangaroo's business district, 12-Micron is perfect for work lunches, big group dinners and times when you just want dessert for dinner.