308 Pacific Hwy, Crows Nest NSW
(02) 9906 7736
Some might say it’s a pretty bold move to bring a fine dining experience to Crows Nest. However, S’Age Bistronomy’s clever chef, attentive wait-staff and excellent menu combine to a make a truly joyous dining experience.
Chef, Tomoyuki Usui, has prepared a menu that demonstrates the range and versatility of his kitchen. Brilliantly paired with a mix of local and international wines, this is a deliberately measured dining experience that focuses on the exploration of flavour, colour and design.
The food is a visual experience as well as an edible one. The eight-course degustation begins with seared king prawn, laid out beautifully on horseradish snow. It’s a cymbal crash at the beginning of a culinary symphony, absolutely delectable and truly refined. The dish is crowned with an almost-show-stealing wafer-thin baked Jerusalem artichoke.
The service breaks new ground with smoked crocodile and raw asparagus. Something served so rarely in restaurants that it appears almost as a novelty. The dish is nicely complemented by familiar additions of buckwheat and nigella seeds. Together these form a quasi-pre-dinner salad, evoking the tradition of haute cuisine, placed on a freezing cold platter. This can be enjoyed with an extremely drinkable glass of rose, Petriera from Molise, Italy.
The lynchpin of this visual feast is the seared venison. It brings the experience to a crescendo and demonstrates Tomoyuki’s philosophy of embracing the colour of things first and tastes almost as a secondary consideration. That said, the venison is expertly cooked – tender, full of flavour and served with purple carrots.
There’s an intelligence at work at S’Age Bistronomy, which lifts the experience from simple fine-dining to an occasion in and of itself. The degustation is the chef’s way of leading diners on a journey. It is subtle, clever and memorable. It’s little wonder that they’ve been awarded a hat.
All items in the degustation are available a la carte, and it would be a shame to pass over the smoked oyster and kangaroo tatare. Not an easy dish to pull off, Tomoyuki has achieved excellence here, by focusing on texture and taste, rather than purity of design.
The wine list calls lovingly on some international players, but also contains several key Australian standards. There’s something to suit all tastes as well as an interesting and decent variety of sake.
All of these fine elements coalesce around an impeccably decorated interior – evoking a Japanese heritage, but eschewing the more florid elements of fine dining. Instead of white tablecloths, you’ll find deep brown tables with soft lighting and a quiet ambiance. It’s an extremely wise decision, as it creates a sort of sanctuary off Pacific Highway.
Words by David Edwards