It’s easy to miss Blancharu if you don’t know what you’re looking for. It’s a small restaurant located on Elizabeth Bay Rd, hidden amongst rows of residential apartment blocks, and where Chef Haru (ex Bilson’s and Galileo) treats diners to a fusion of Japanese and French cuisine. There’s the option of choosing from the a la carte menu, a 5-course menu for $59, or a 7-course menu for $88.
We go all out with the 7-course menu, starting with a soup course. The cold soup is a silky and creamy avocado puree. It’s dotted with eggplant caviar around the edges, which reminds me of salmon roe, popping in the mouth as you bite into it. Crispy croutons add some textural contrast, and hidden underneath the soup is some picked crab meat. It’s a course that whets the appetite for the dishes to come.The aburi scallop dish is one of my favourite dishes of the night. The scallops are lightly blowtorched and sit on a bed of assorted coloured seaweed. The whole dish is dressed with a tangy yuzu dressing and flying fish roe. It is a simple dish but the flavours work so well together. I only wish there was more of it!
The third course turns out to be a vegetarian dish that is beautifully presented. A flavoursome tomato gazpacho is like a small pond surrounded by a wall of airy pea mousse. Carefully cut vegetables like broccoli, baby corn, tomato, beans, onion and radish are placed around the edges to create what looks like a work of art!
This dish was also a winner – how can it not be when it’s deep fried? The threads of kataifi pastry crumble with the first bite, revealing a whole plump oyster and a sweet, delicate prawn mousse inside. The basil sauce is a nice complement, providing a fresh flavour to the dish.
The fish of the day turns out to be a perfect cube of swordfish. I’m won over when I see that the fish is cooked perfectly and I savour every bite. It’s served with a creamy cauliflower puree and a balsamic sauce which packs a punch. It’s so good that I try to get every bit of it off the plate with my fork.
The yakitori quail breast is an interesting take on the traditional yakitori. I love all food on a stick, but the quail is so tender and has a great umami flavour from the miso glaze and sansho pepper. The lightly pickled cucumber in the centre is quite a contrast to the quail. I’m not sure that they pair together that well, but separately they are delicious components in their own way.
The final dessert course is brought to the table. It is a delicate looking dessert with pretty pink granita crystals sprinkled over a brioche and peach compote. The brioche has been soaked in peach juice, making it a little soggy and dense for my liking. But the flavours in the dish are spot on with a light vanilla cream, white peach and a heady rosewater granita.
I’m glad I finally got to try out Blancharu as it had been on my hit list for quite a while. We had a beautiful meal and even though the food didn’t look like much, we were quite full afterwards. I highly recommend the tasting menus which allowed us to try lots of dishes at a very reasonable price. I will definitely be back – especially as I hear there is an amazing ramen available there at lunchtimes too!
Shop 1, 21 Elizabeth Bay Road,
Elizabeth Bay NSW 2011
Ph: +61 2 9360 3555
Lunch: Friday and Saturday, noon-2pm
Dinner: Monday to Saturday, 6pm-10pm