It's safe to say, restaurants like Meu Jardim don't come around every day. After all, this dramatic new Skittle Lane venture from restaurateur Ussi Moniz Da Silva not only boasts a heady $4.1 million dollar fit-out, but also a huge firepit and a three-metre-high indoor waterfall.
A futuristic nod to the natural elements of fire and water, the two-level, 330-seat space delivers a striking vision of glossy white angles and turquoise neon finishes. White pearl walls supposedly pull inspiration from the Dordogne Valley in France, while an impressive curved block staircase connects the two floors.
Upstairs is dedicated to a high-end contemporary French restaurant, its entrance marked by that flowing sheet of water and an oyster shucking station, and its open kitchen set artfully behind glass. Here, Executive Chef Jason McCauley (Banc Restaurant, Carpaccio Leichhardt, Eatalia) is plating up modern reworkings of classic fine French flavours.
It's a lineup that's both considered and totally decadent, kicking off with bites like escargot in garlic, butter and champagne, Western Australian lobster tail and a wagyu tartare starring quail yolk and Tasmanian summer truffle. Mains might include a duck a l'orange featuring turnip, green olive and an orange gelee, or the blue eye trevalla and mussels done with plenty of white wine and cream. There's even a 1.2-kilogram grass-fed tomahawk steak, which you can pimp out even further with the addition of some gold leaf for an extra $60.
If decisions aren't your strong point, a five-course degustation is also on offer for $100 a head, which will take you from scallops with caviar through to fillet and an apple tarte tartin served with smoked honey yoghurt ice cream.
A more casual (and affordable) affair awaits you downstairs, where snacks, shared plates and bistro fare take centre stage. Expect to tuck into creations like the chicken liver parfait served with a port gel and sesame lavash, salt cod beignets and the restaurant's signature 'crodogs' — a croissant-hot dog hybrid — filled with the likes of pulled pork, lamb and mint or strawberries and cream.
You can also pull up a seat by that 40-person firepit to settle in with a cosy tipple. There's a wine selection heroing drops from across Australia and France — go for a glass of the 2018 Domaine Paul Blanck pinot blanc from Alsace, perhaps — and a cocktail lineup starring forgotten classics alongside signature creations. Stay on theme with something lush, like the Vuju De — a fusion of Monkey 47, sherry, Dom Benedictine, Lillet Blanc, creme de violet and orange bitters.
Images: Kitti Gould