A few weeks ago, I booked a table at Automata at The Old Clare Hotel, for myself, my partner and 2 good friends who were on holidays here from the UK. The head chef at Automata is Clayton Wells, who was sous chef at Momofuku Seiobo until August 2014, so we knew we were in good hands when we dined there between Christmas and New Year.
Before dinner, we had a lovely refreshing cocktail at The Old Clare’s Rooftop Pool & Bar, which has great urban views and a lap pool which could just be for decoration (I will check it out when I stay at the hotel for Valentine’s Day next month. Watch this space for the review!). We caught the lift downstairs and entered Automata, where we were escorted to a long communal table.
There is just one menu on offer, which is ideal for indecisive people like myself. Officially it consists of 5 courses, though they bought us some delicious snacks whilst we chose our wines. My partner and I decided to have the matching wines (pretty good value at just $143 for the food and wine), whilst my friends chose a bottle of Clare Valley Riesling.
We started the main courses with Cherries with fermented juice & mustard, followed by King prawn (the largest prawns we had ever seen, as pictured above) with barley koji and sea blite, Smoked lamb heart (!) with green sauce, fennel and cumin, Wagyu intercostal with dill pickle and turnip, and Peach with sunflower seed and sherry vinegar caramel. The offal was not too bad…actually it was quite good; but they did offer to swap it for the vegetarian dish (Red cabbage, which tasted meaty according to my friend who swapped). They were also very accommodating with last minute dietary requirements. They change the menu regularly though, so its a good idea to check it the morning of your booking to get the heads up.
In summary, the floor staff were all extremely knowledgeable and helpful in terms of the food and wine, the sservice was smooth and efficient, it is located in the hottest suburb in Sydney right now, and has to be one of the best value degustations in town.