We decided to go in on a Thursday night, arriving for an early dinner at 6.30pm. It was freezing cold outside, but thankfully we were seated next to a heater to warm up. The restaurant is nicely presented, with fresh pasta on display near the entrance, and local artwork on display.
Unfortunately for Azure it was really quiet – painfully so. During the course of our dinner there was only one other table there, which I have to say surprised me! Seeing it so empty did make me a little worry about what to expect for the food, but I was ready to see for myself.
After looking over the menu we were both quite impressed with the dishes on offer, and happily identified what we wanted to each order for entree and main. To start things off, my boy chose the crumbed eggplant chips with basil aioli ($7.50). I’ve loved eggplant ever since a holiday a few years ago to Melbourne where I had the most phenomenal eggplant dish in Degraves Lane so I was pleased that he chose this knowing I’d get to have some too.
Azure’s version was creamy on the inside and crunchy on the outside, the aioli a lovely addition bursting with herbaceous flavour.
For my entree I decided on the crispy squid tentacles with chilli and lemon ($9.50). I love seafood, and often I’ll find any excuse to get my hands on it – but it needs to be cooked right. Azure’s version was completely addictive, the squid on the money in terms of flavour, texture and seasoning. A lovely simple way to start my meal that got my tastebuds fired up.
When our mains came out to the table we both could barely believe our eyes! The serving sizes were extremely generous and being the pasta fiends we are, we were pretty excited to dig in.
Jeremy’s fettuccine with chorizo, prawns and creamy vermouth sauce ($28.50) was something special. The pasta was al dente and definitely shone, but it was actually the sauce that wowed us so much – a layered concoction using fish stock as a base. While normally you would find prawns whole and plump, Azure chop them up but neither of us minded – it made things easier to eat!
Naturally when I spied gnocchi on the menu my mind was made up in an instant! The gnocchi semplice with tomato sumo and pangrattato ($22.50) was about two meal sizes in one, and impressive in it’s vibrancy and simplicity.
The gnocchi was soft and pillowy, though it managed to retain it’s shape throughout the meal. I just loved the crunchy scattering of dry breadcrumbs on top which offered great texture in between the soft, sweet mouthfuls of that gorgeous tomato sauce.
Though we were feeling pretty full after our mains, we decided to push through and try the desserts on offer too. My boy’s choice of the creme brûlée trio ($14.50) came to the table presented as three small glasses of the three flavours – vanilla, pistachio and coffee.
I only had a little bite of the vanilla but it was so silky and smooth, and nice to cut through the creaminess with the ripe, sweet strawberries on the side. And yes, the sugared top was thin and yet crisp, offering a nice snap as Jeremy’s spoon pushed through the surface.
With my love of all things peanut butter and salted caramel, there was only one dessert I had eyes for on the menu. The peanut butter parfait with salted caramel and praline ($14.50) was again another giant serving and a playful nod to Chef Emma’s time working at Kitsch. The parfait was creamy and smooth, the caramel bitter and dark, working well with the crunchy shards of scattered praline.
Having this dessert well and truly tipped me over the edge in being full! But every bite was worth it, and overall it was a great experience at Azure. I have to say I thought our dinner was lovely from start to finish. It might have been howling cold outside, but the food inside warmed me from inside out.