The grass is always greener on the other side, especially from inside Aria chef Matt Moran's glasshouse-inspired Woollahra space. On one side, there's the artfully manicured gardens in front of the former Pruniers restaurant. Through the other windows, there's Moran and co-owner Peter Sullivan's cute little kitchen garden. So it's up to diners whether they stare out at the beetroot, rhubarb and leeks that will adorn their plates, or at the French plantation-style interiors.
The grass is also greener because Chiswick is just off Ocean Street. In Woollahra. On this Sunday evening, there's still a relaxed afternoon air about diners (a mix of end-of-weekend professionals, the well-to-do and elderly men in cravats and ladies of leisure) and the gentile service.
The open kitchen, the long table near the bar for casual eaters, or the decks and vinyl behind the front counter reveal no sign of Moran, whose time is more likely to be spent at his Circular Quay restaurant. But his family's cattle farm near Bathurst makes many an appearance on the menu.
The wood-roasted lamb ($59) to share or the modest char-grilled steak ($35) come from Moran land, and are spruced-up versions of traditional family roast fare, with mint and horseradish sauce, respectively. The former is roasted for four hours until it falls off the bone, but both dishes aren't served with sides so add another $10 for steamed broccoli or $13 for iceberg, egg and caper salad. Alternatively, the roasted snapper fillet with a rustic bois boudran sauce ($30) is very succulent. The smaller plate of salt-cured tuna is magnificently presented on a miniature pink slab of Himalayan salt rock ($20), but also try the light veal ravioli ($20).
The desserts are simple but effective. The vanilla cheesecake with raspberry sorbet and wild berries ($15) and chocolate mousse cake with mandarin sorbet and carmelised peanuts ($15) bring the continual Sunday lunch to a satisfying end. Makes Monday seem far away ...