Behind the door that separates the Roosevelt Cocktail Bar from the dining room lies another dimension. Enter it, and you have a sensory experience of sight, sound, scent, taste and mind.
It may not be the Twilight Zone, but the Roosevelt Cocktail Dégustation Dinner is an encounter with the unique, an innovative concept that fulfils the senses and challenges the imagination. Anticipation and surprise are key to the enjoyment so details will not be revealed in this review.
Owners Sven Almenning (Eau-de-Vie & Behind Bars) and Graham Ette (Etiquette Catering) have simultaneously raised the bar and the kitchen in a dining experience that leaves you in awe. The menu, which challenges convention, changes seasonally/regularly. Five courses are matched with cocktails – or is it the other way around – each ingredient on its own delivers a balanced flavour that both complements and contrasts with the whole of the dish.
This is the Roosevelt’s first dégustation menu and the theme is the celebration of summer in Sydney. The first course plays to the sense of expectation and intrigue, and awakens the senses and palate to a new dimension. Vibrant colours in what seems like a simple dish and accompanying cocktail tell the beginning of a story through texture and taste, and plants the seed that things may not be what they seem.
If the opening course sets the tone of the evening, preparing the palate and the mind, the next course initially plays to the auditory sense. The cocktail seduces with its aroma and has a delicate balance of spice and sparkle. The paired dish is a combination of sensual textures and flavours, and by now the palate and mind are well primed for the experience.
In this new dimension of dining, time passes quickly yet the pacing of the courses is perfectly executed, allowing enough time to enjoy each cocktail and accompanying dish while engaging in conversation with fellow diners.
A prelude to the third course follows with a visual and olfactory experience, stimulating the mind through the senses. Elegantly prepared and cleverly presented, the next dish becomes an interactive play with food, evoking memories of hot days at the beach and tasting the sea. A delicate balance of ingredients works in unison with the cocktail to provide a course that is quintessentially summer.
By now, you think you have become accustomed to the flow of the dégustation with the ringing of a bell heralding each course. But an incense-like scent reminiscent of church precedes the next dish which takes you by surprise. You see colour contrasts, cutlery and vegetables served in the same manner, and a robust red liquid poured from a wine bottle. And then all is revealed.
The final course makes you ponder the cocktail or the dessert scenario. But why analyse which came first when you can sip and eat and sip again. Just as you realise the experience is about to end, a visual element of fire makes up an unexpected finale with an additional course that resets the palate and ends on a warming note.
The Cocktail Dégustation Dinner transcends any experience of its kind. The concept is unique, innovative and perfectly executed, and as such, The Roosevelt has unlocked the door to a new dining dimension.
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Photo gallery below:
Co-Owner Graham Ette
Bartenders and Dégustation hosts: Luke Ashton (L) and Collin Perillo (R)
32 Orwell St, Potts Point
Open: Mon-Sun 5pm-12am
Dégustation: $150 for five courses matched with cocktails.