We decided to go with the 7 course degustation and choose our own wines which was fun and meant that the quantity was also there! Our amuse bouches arrived very quickly and quite stealthily! In John's words, you can amuse my bouche any day! Beautiful parsnip soup with a lime foam not too different to Heinz chicken soup; oh that John has a way with words! Soup in a glass - fairly mainstream and although it tasted great isn't all that exciting.
Next came rabbit - ballotine with capocollo and foie gras, ginger bread and pomegranate. I was slightly surprised that this was a cold dish but loved the deep earthy flavours. The foie gras was intense, the rabbit ballotine deliciously savury and then a touch of sweetness form the pomegranante. So tasty.
I was really looking forward to the Peking duck consomme with dumplings, shaved abalone and mushroom. My expectations were of an intensely strong and flavoursome broth and good robust dumplings. It was pleasant enough but didn't strike my heart with the umami hit I was after.
Kurobuta pork belly with chestnut puree and poached persimmons brought together beautiful classic flavours and was faultless.
Overall Aria is faultless in terms of flavours and quality but it's just all quite safe and conservative. No pizzazz or showtime. No personality or conversation starters or stoppers. Service was similar; efficient but stealthy so almost unnoticeable leaving no trace of bitterness or astounding brilliance. It was a great place for five friends to catch up and enjoy brilliant food and it was a truly lovely evening but I can't help but feel the restaurant was a mere backdrop to our reunion rather than the star of the show.