Monday, June 1, 2009

acqua de vitae

acqua de vitae = the water of life. one memory that has stuck after all those years of latin classes [mr ferguson would be proud]... he is also the last person i'd like to share the food of the gods with in this superlative setting which is sydney's not so hidden but possibly undervalued gem [on the other side of the bridge].

in roman culture acqua de vitae often referred to classical fermented alchemic drinks such as whiskey which my beloved friend ky arguably does drink like water...

anyway the wine list at contemporary food darling aqua is fantastic as are the apertifs but on a day like this it's hard to go past the french champagne.

this is a place where artemis really needs her apollo as consort: not so close to zeus AKA jupiter in the clouds but close enough to touch the sky & the divine 1930s art deco sydney olympic pool overlooking sydney harbour below.

like an arbitrary mountain-top setting the view is spectacular alone but so much better when shared. besides noone wants to look like a perv without some buffering whilst staring down at the enviable physiques perfecting their breaststroke. the almost invisible 270 degree glass cocoon blurs barriers between here & there. still it's too late to jump, ive already started drinking. my mother would never approve.

although the restaurant environment has a restraint offered by the starched white linen tablecloths which i usually avoid, i've loved this place forever. the surrounding vista in a rich palette of blue hues provides so much visual stimulus that the neutral interior clean lines cleverly offset the scene. when my father came on an infrequent trip into the country this is where i led him & his wife out for lunch to showcase my adopted home town.

because i'm addicted to exhibiting dominance over bottom feeders i make an immediate menu beeline for the pan-fried yamba prawns only because the scallops which are virtually impossible to resist are wrapped in pancetta & although the chef is super accommodating it's no drama to "settle".

the salsa verde & persian feta with goat's cheese pastry which dress these shelled beasties are so good that by the time my crisp parcels of spinach, braised baby leeks and horseradish arrive i've been quaffing back on a good percentage of the bottle of veuve clicquot that um, my tummy is already feeling somewhat challenged. the only way to remedy this is to obviously order another bottle. it is my birthday after all... almost on cue, jupier & inc in the heavens paint a rainbow. everything is going according to plan.

by now i'm far too full in conspicuous consumption mode to even bother with the proffered fork of my lovely lunch date's roast fillet of blue eye trevalla but its firm yet silken flesh beckons me harder than uma thurman's virgin would john malkovich. this is a dangerous liasion of sorts, somewhere in this lunch i am in danger of reliving that infamous monty python wafer thin scene & heading up to olympus much earlier than originally deigned...

somehow i decline the next course [the tablecloths lead, i follow] & just order a fishbowl full of baileys chased by green tea instead of dessert but it comes anyway fully personalised, because the staff are charming as hell & actually go beyond the wooden robotic mould despite the fact i have well-loved artisan shoes which flap smiling faces when i walk uphill. we leave as friends after sharing dreams, south american travel stories & facebook addies to be pursued another day.

i immediately explode on exit & die happy [ridentem dicere verum quid vetat]? thanks horace.


  1. Gratias tibi ago. Thats it for my Latin. I feel my deficiencies would somehow sound better over Veuve at Aqua though. That or sake at Tetsuyas. We can brush on some nihongo whilst there. I haven't degusted there in too long.

  2. I'm sure acqua de vitae could stretch to some XO too...