Aqua Dining brings us Italian-inspired food with a side of Sydney Harbour. Perched atop Sydney Olympic Pool, Aqua has been with us for over a decade and indulges diners' taste and sight.
Let's start with the view. Aqua's glass-walled room facilitates an uninterrupted panorama sweeping Luna Park, the Harbour Bridge, Circular Quay and beyond. The best part? Aqua doesn't exploit the liberty of such views to compensate for ordinary sustenance.
Premiere location aside, this restaurant's food is attention-worthy. Whether dining corporately, with a companion or solo, start with half a dozen freshly shucked oysters ($4 each) with Moscato and cucumber dressing to awaken the buds before launching into a few antipasti.
The oven-roasted ricotta baby peppers with eggplant caviar, beans and truss cherry tomatoes ($24) is a dish a little on the oily side, but a decent and aesthetically entertaining entrée nonetheless. More successful are the Char-grilled Moreton Bay Bugs with a pink grapefruit, finger lime and petit bouche salad ($28) for a satisfying textural contrast offering just enough pop and crunch.
As an in-between, the fresh chilli tagliolini with spanner crab, garlic, lemon oil and parsley ($28 entrée or $37 main) is recommended; the spanner crab offering a juicy salt offset to the pasta's spicy kick.
Mains wise it's a matter of fish or meat. The oven-roasted snapper with sweet potato and witlof ($38) will go down a treat with any pescatarian and the 300-day grain fed wagyu boneless ribeye with beans, balsamic onions and potato puree ($44) will set you in a carnivore's delight. And without fear of reprimand, it will be admitted that the ribeye needs better consideration of both quantity and inventiveness of its sides. Unfortunately in this case the view was not enough.
And for dessert? Aqua, clearly doing it Italian style, has a considerably hefty array of dolci. Ranging from a light sorbetti of stone fruits (house-made sorbets of mango, white peach and cherry $14) to an intensely rich caramel crunch with caramel milk chocolate mousse, caramel gelato, coconut and honey crumble ($15), Aqua seems to have all bases covered.
Lest we forget the drink. The wine list covers both local and international producers and might daunt the untrained eye so some words of advice: go with a wine guru friend or utilise Aqua's knowledgeable sommelier.
So if you're after a slice of Sydney indulgence, Aqua might just be your pick.