Sit down to dinner at Arthur and you'll have some idea of how chef-owner Tristan Rosier best remembers his grandfather.
The original Arthur, with his love of getting friends and family together over food, was the main inspiration behind Rosier's 35-seat restaurant, which is he launched with partner Rebecca Fanning. It opened its doors in the old Bar Baretto space on Bourke Street in October. The space has been given new life with modern light fittings, brass and timber tables and more windows that make the dining room glow in the afternoon.
It marks the first solo venture for the chef (ex-Farmhouse and Dead Ringer), whose focus here is on using interesting, seasonal ingredients in unexpected ways, through dishes as elegant as they are exciting. As much as possible is done in-house from scratch, from the breads and preserves, to a raft of pickled things.
Food at Arthur is enjoyed as part of a $70 a head shared "dinner party"-style feast of around 11 set dishes — a move Rosier says is designed to allow punters space to really enjoy that good eating and company, rather than worrying about the whole decision-making and ordering affair. Dinners are done in sessions — two a night, plus a lunch session on weekends — and the menu will be an oft-changing one, though there'll always be at least one raw dish making an appearance and two desserts sweetening the finish.
The starting lineup includes dishes like mozzarella with broad beans and green tomatoes, fried artichokes, King prawns with romesco and hazelnut and beef short rib served with mash. And for dessert: a chocolate delice with mandarin and macadamia. Even though it's a set menu, vegetarian, vegan and other dietary requests can be catered for with notice.
The wine offering is entirely Australian, showcasing "easy-to-drink wines" with brightness, balance and crunch.