I’ve been meaning to try out the degustation at Automata for a while, and finally managed to head over one weekend. The industrial chic decor at Automata makes it clear that you’re in the heart of the thriving new precinct at Chippendale and the long communal table where most guests end up dining turns it into a much more casual way to experience fine dining, especially with a clear view of the open kitchen behind where the chefs were busily plating up each course.
We started off our 5 courses (for a reasonably priced $88 a head) with a fresh kingfish dish that was enhanced with a delicious wakame oil and the interesting flavours of tamarillo, blended with some creme fraiche. Light and balanced, this was just enough to get our tastebuds going.
Kingfish, tamarillo, creme fraiche, wakame oil
For the second course, the succulent bug tail was delicately wrapped up with juicy pearls of avruga caviar and placed on top of a vividly coloured dill emulsion. This fantastic dish was a flavour explosion that left us wanting more.
Bug tail, dill emulsion, avruga, lardo
The middle course of the degustation looked like a risotto with a twist, featuring barley instead, cooked with fermented mushrooms and chunks of jerusalem artichoke to evoke the comforting texture and flavours of a risotto, elevated with shavings of black truffle which were in season.
Fermented mushrooms, barley, truffle, jerusalem artichoke
The last savoury dish was a revelation, with the perfectly cooked wagyu paired with a celeriac puree and garnished with pretty buds of romanesco broccoli. The tenderness of that wagyu was exceptional and was a great way to end the savoury part of the meal.
Wagyu tri tip, celeriac, romanesco, preserved lemon and sumac
Last but not least, the dessert showcased how simplicity can work best when executed right – a creamy quenelle of buttermilk ice cream was topped off with a tart rhubarb curd and some interesting dulse algae flakes for a bit of texture. This unconventional combination ended up working well to round off the meal and leave our palates satisfied and balanced.
Buttermilk ice cream, rhubarb curd, dulse
The degustation menu at Automata is one of the better value fine dining options in Sydney, executed brilliantly and in a relaxed environment that keeps it accessible for those who are looking for a special occasion meal without breaking the bank (even the butter they serve with their bread is incredible!)