Chef Joel Bickford is shaking things up Sydney icon, Aria Restaurant, with the launch of his new, quintessentially Australian menu.
Having grown up in the Blue Mountains, where he hand-raised pheasants, planted vegetables, collected duck and bantam eggs, and caught eels and freshwater crayfish, he was instilled from a very young age about the importance of respecting the land and its produce.
This philosophy stayed with him as he manned the pans at Biota (Southern Highlands) and The Gantry (Sydney).
And since taking the reins of Aria in early April, Bickford has been working with his team to develop a seasonal and local ingredient-celebrating menu.
Bickford says, ““Having the opportunity to step in and takeover the Aria kitchen, and create a new menu with Matt [Moran] and the team has been a pretty amazing coup in my career.
“I like a lot of decadent things and this is reflected through the menu we have created, but it is served in a fairly simple way.
“I love incorporating nature, I love coming across unique and native Australian ingredients, and the new menu showcases a passion of combining all the elements I love, on a plate.”
Bickford’s new, Aria menu is as a four-course experience, with two or three course options, or as a six-course tasting menu.
Entree highlights include smoked carrot, olive, fennel, liquorice and flax; steamed Murray cod with angasi oyster, white radish and miso; and cauliflower served with comte, Manjimup truffle and salted egg.
For mains, Bickford’s launch menu features King oyster mushrooms, sweetcorn, leek and black garlic; pink snapper served with fungi, snake beans, ginger and shallot; and a blue eye travella dish with almond, caper, and razorback prawns.
The lunch, grill selection showcases four cuts of Australian beef including a Black Angus fillet; a Black Market Rangers Valley sirloin; Rangers Valley rump cap; and Cowra Murray Grey rib eye.
Desserts is an autumnal affair with a warm a colour palette; soft reds are evident in the rhubarb with raspberry, liquorice and milk; and brown tones are enjoyed in the chocolate, chestnut, cognac, cocoa dessert; and rounding the sweet selection out is the pastel soufflé with mandarin, pistachio, cream cheese.
Restaurateur Matt Moran is excited to have Bickford head the Aria kitchen. He says, “We share a similar philosophy on cooking and ingredients.
“We can’t wait to see what he does in the kitchen, and for our guests to experience his food.”