Saturday, June 2, 2012

Becasse, Westfield Sydney -- or -- Leaf and Stone

The setup
My birthday. A special occasion in anyone's books. But especially mine. A short list of special occasion restaurants narrowed down to one. A reservation was secured. It was going to be expensive but, according to the reviews and reputation, worth it.

Get ready for some mixed up metaphors.

How it went down

The debrief
Bécasse was a huge disappointment. It's proportional to the size of the expectation. It was supposed to be amazing. Hatted. Respected chef. Expensive ($170 for the degustation, another $80 for matched wines). Special occasion.

But it just didn't work (for me). A table for two was laid out side-by-side, so instead of sitting across from my dining companion we were both facing the middle of the room. It felt like a theatre, but not much was happening. There wasn't even any music. And it didn't give a sense of privacy.

The decor was a mish-mash. Sandstone. Chandeliers. Purple couches. Plants. This extended to the variety of crockery -- glass plates, slabs of rock, china. It kind of distracted from the food rather than enhancing the presentation.

And the food didn't always reflect the 'theme' set up by the setting. Some of the dishes really said "Autumn" in bold letters, but others must have been too subtle for me to catch. (Or maybe I was distracted by the salt dish which was a rock covered in black stuff.) I mean, I'm open to the possibility that I missed the point. (But seriously, look at this thing!)

On the plus side, it was a fine dining restaurant and no dish used foam. There were lots of jellies, jubes and consommé and other interesting ways to bring flavours to the plate. Another plus: the matched wines. Delicious in their own right, and some added a lot to their accompanying dish.

The conclusion
At the time, I felt like it was a wasted 4 hours and $500. Looking back, Molly, I think I was just really disappointed. Given the calibre of restaurant I expected everything to be perfect. And it wasn't. But the only dish which I actively disliked was the ocean consommé.

There are so many good restaurants out there that I'm not likely to go back. Bécasse just isn't for me.

Bécasse on Urbanspoon


  1. I'm so sorry to hear you weren't wowed! Becasse is my most memorable dining experience, I loved it. I thought all the kooky crockery added character! Did those you went with feel the same as you?

  2. Interesting... we thought the same thing about French Laundry... probably proportional to the expectation but same thing. For that much money you expect everything to be exceptional rather than just good.

  3. For that amount of money I'd expect perfection. I'll try it when I go back to full time employment :)

  4. I've tried Becasse and it isn't for me either.

  5. You described all the dishes and your disappointment so beautifully, I'm kinda glad you didn't have a fabulous experience. Am I an awful person? :p

  6. Completely agree. Had the same experience 12 months ago - same reason for going, same disappointments for the same reasons. (obviously the menu was different, but again, missed notes) and the ceramics are dreadful for the space. It's like some coke-fuelled designer was shagging the chef or the owner... Also, sorry. Location? Westfield? Even star casino - sellout and bad form.

  7. Tara -- yep, my dining companion felt the same. Possibly even more disappointed.
    Cheryl -- the price (and reputation) definitely sets an expectation that things will be exceptional.
    Gaby -- I look forward to hearing what you think of it when you finally get there.
    R. -- Not too awful. So long as you don't curse me to eternal disappointment.
    Joey & Kath -- I'm glad I'm not completely alone on this. I certainly feel in the minority, though.

  8. I don't think I'll ever get to Becasse as it's just out of my price range. And, call me a peasant, but I've been to a few "fine dining" places since starting my blog and that's enough for me...I find the food lovely, but similar at many of the places -- and I just can't afford it. But, bummer that your birthday dinner wasn't spot on.


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