Aria for lunch

Aria have recently introduced a fast and fresh lunch option for $39 pp which includes entree, choice of main and a glass of Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Noir. Maybe they should call it fast, fresh and fabulous!

My lifelong friend, Mrs A and I ate here to celebrate her birthday. Although it was an overcast day, the view out to the Brisbane River and the Kookaburra Queen was still very lovely. The service at Aria is very professional although at times a little too formal, especially at the lunch sitting.

The fast and fresh menu was nicely balanced. We started with Cured Kingfish with radish, cucumber and lemon gel. I love this type of dish. So delicate to look at but packs a punch of flavour on the palate. The pickled radish was tart, the lemon gel sweet and zingy and the fish melt in your mouth.

Cured kingfish

For main we both choose the beef cheeks with beetroot, orange and horseradish salad. The other option was pan seared salmon fillet with smoked eggplant, tomato and olives.

I’ve never cooked beef cheeks but am tempted to buy a slow cooker just to see if I could replicate the fall apart at the slightest touch, tender, sticky, mouth-watering goodness of cow cheeks. I love cows that are still breathing in the paddock. I love their big eyes and the way they chew the cud. I appreciate their cheeks get a good workout so to produce such beautiful meat for us to eat is a real gift.

Beef cheeks

We choose the rocket, fennel, grape and pecorino salad to go with our main but instead we got the broccolini with toasted almonds. This was fine. It looked lovely and went well with the beef but I was surprised at the lack of attention to detail.

broccolini with almonds

Dessert wasn’t part of the fast and fresh lunch option but as it was Mrs A birthday we couldn’t go past sharing the Mango with meringue, mango sorbet and mandarin soup $21. I had pre-arranged with the restaurant that a birthday candle should be included with whatever dessert we ordered. I was disappointed when this didn’t happen but it didn’t ruin our lovely lunch.

Dessert was very pretty and hit all the spots in terms of texture. A crisp biscuit snap sat on top of intense mango sorbet which sat atop a rich vanilla meringue. Into the dish the waiter poured a delicious mandarin soup with pomegrante seeds. It was a lovely end to the meal but the candle in the mango sorbet would have made it just that little bit more special.

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We declined coffee but were still served three petit fours each. A tiny pistachio cake, an orange blossom delight and an orange chocolate truffle. Just enough to tip you over the edge of satisfaction and leave a smile on your face.

Petit fours

On arriving home I was pleased to receive a phone call from the Manager who realised they hadn’t fulfilled their promise of the birthday candle. He was clearly very upset about this and offered a sincere apology which of course, I accepted. He said they pride themselves on attention to detail and I agree, usually you can’t fault the service at Aria but on this visit, attention to detail was lacking twice. Still this did not dampen our enjoyment of the lunch and indeed, it was more about two friends sharing some quality time together over some seriously¬† good food.

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On the whole, Aria fast and fresh lunch is a pleasant experience offering value for money. On the downside the parking is crazy expensive but I guess that’s the price you pay to dine in this location at one of Brisbane’s top restaurants.

ARIA Restaurant Brisbane

1 Eagle Street, Eagle Street Pier

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