Blancharu's location in Elizabeth Bay doesn't help, either. There is limited street parking, and if you're willing to pay for the fairly steep rates, the Kings Cross Car Park can be quite convenient (it's a couple of minutes' walk away). But there, you can see part of the problem. If the food is excellent, people are more willing to overlook the difficult location. If the food is only mediocre, it can be more trouble than it's worth.
The process of locating Blancharu might be a little tricky, as the signage is a little small and street numbers aren't very prominent. Look out for the blackboard, the wall of glass, and the zen-like water feature on the side.
The service is unobtrusive and respectful. I made my booking online and received confirmations via email as well as, on the day we were expected, over the phone. Our glasses of water were refilled before we noticed they were empty and it was easy to get the attention of the staff. Though a couple of the waitresses had limited English, they understood enough to take notes of our dietary requirements (a frustrating and, at times, life-endangering process).
Our table decided on the 5 course degustation for $49, refraining from the 7 course menu as we weren't willing to fork out the additional $39 for 2 courses in foreign territory.
Prior to the first course, a waitress came round with a tray of complimentary bread. They had 2 types of buns on offer - sourdough and french onion. I prefer my bread plain, so I selected the sourdough. It tasted more like white bread than sourdough but it wasn't bad. It was also sadly quite small - it would have been nice if we were offered another round of buns.
|Eggplant caviar with crab and avocado|
|Gazpacho with vegetables and pea mousse|
|Aburi scallops and Yuzu dressing|
|Steamed john dory with balsamic vinegar sauce|
|Yakitori quail breast with miso sauce and sansyo|
|Dessert of the day|
All in all, the simplicity of each dish made me feel like the meal was not worth paying $49, even though there were five courses in total. The portions are also fairly small, resulting in it taking a long long time before feeling fairly full. The menu is skewed towards chilled dishes, which means that the menu is probably for the more adventurous to sample. Having said that, the dishes are pretty ordinary, so it would be nice to see more skill invested in the food. Will not be back.