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13
Sep 04
Mon

Claude’s

Claude’s, a consistent 3-hat restaurant is unhatted in this year’s Good Food Guide due to the previous owner and chef, Tim Pak Poy, leaving earlier this year. Nonetheless, its reputation seemingly continued on, and when I tried to make a reservation in July for August, found the place was booked out until September.

Claude’s is a non-descript “hole in the wall” along Oxford Street in Woollahra. Sneeze, and you’d miss it. In fact, that is almost exactly what happened. Don was driving us along Oxford St, when I realised Paddington had just passed us by. On a vague whim I told him that I thought we’d gone past Claude’s, which it turns out we had. Don turned into the next street on the left and found parking immediately. Unknown to us, we had parked about 20m down the road from Claude’s, but then proceeded to walk straight past it and a further 200m or so before realising something was wrong. Eventually we found it – there’s no overhead sign, just a small plaque with the restaurant name in cursive script. You have to ring a doorbell to get into the restaurant, which I thought was, well, quaint.

The two-floored restaurant is tiny. The bottom seated about 25 people, and the top level couldn’t have accommodated more than about 15. The decor is simple and plain, with whitewashed walls peculiarly adorned with crockery. The lighting is dim, but comfortably so. It looks a lot like a converted terrace house, because you have to walk outside to get to the toilets. Although the surroundings are nothing special, the space makes the atmosphere quite intimate. This place is excellent for dinner with that special someone (although for the price, that someone really better be special!).

But you’re not really paying for the atmosphere. You’re paying for the wonderful French cuisine. The Aylesbury duck was excellent, as was the King George Whiting and Mud Crab entree. The champagne violet crush was a beauty – really refreshing. The mostly-well-drilled waitstaff, after serving the dishes, often came back to ladle sauce onto them to keep things fresh.

At Claude's

The meal was solid – not as strongly vibrant in its flavours as Mod Oz – but still enjoyable. The 8 course tasting menu is $150pp (I think Saturdays are tasting menu-only nights). Add $85 if you want matching wines.