Sunday, August 10, 2008

Review: (A)LURE

It irks me when people say dining out is all about the food, because it isn't. Dining out, especially when it's high-end, is also about feeling loved and cossetted, like being wrapped in a warm cocoon of specialness for the night. If I wanted just food, I'd have stayed at home.

At Burswood's (A)LURE, I felt about as loved as a puppy caught in the rain. On arrival, we were led past a cool bar/sushi station through to a wonderful Manhattan-inspired fit-out, then towards the back until we were seated next to an exit door in a small, tiled area entirely by ourselves. This was a little puzzling considering the restaurant was only three quarters full, and I felt the rumblings of foreboding. And heard the sound of much clattering as crockery, cutlery and glassware began to hit our table. All delivered in a most unloving way by a team of young girls who looked as though they'd prefer to be anywhere but serving us. Sean Marco is an award-winning chef who has worked in some of the world's most prestigious hotels. Such a shame, then, to have such poor conveyors of his fine fare. I asked only one question during the night, hesitatingly, knowing I would be disappointed: could a side be suggested for my $48 upmarket surf-and-turf? "Um, like, maybe a salad?" was the surly reply. Care factor: zero. I went with the buttered asparagus.

(A)LURE is great if you're after conventional high-end grub with low-end service in a cool space. Not so great if you expect fine dining.

What we ate:
Entree - Mixed half dozen oysters ($20); fetta & mushroom tartlet ($17)
Main - Avon Valley beef fillet with lobster tail ($48); confit pork belly with grilled King prawns ($42); buttered asparagus.

What we drank:
T'Gallant Pinot Grigio; Capel Vale Unwooded Chardonnay; Clairault Cabernet Sauvignon