Sydney harbours a plethora of amazing experiences.
Some are well-known, others are truly hidden away and known only by the initiated, and there are those in plain sight yet missed by most.
Ananas, formerly at The Rocks, now relocated to Circular Quay, represents the best of the recent revival of French food in Sydney. In the last year or so, a plethora of French establishments opened their doors, spoiling us with a choice for fabulous, authentic French fare.
Of course, as is always the case, some places are better than others, and hype can often overshadow reality. That’s certainly not the case with Ananas, the French flagship of the Neil Perry’s Rockpool Dining Group.
Whether a romantic table for two, lunch with Mom, or a large birthday celebration, Ananas has proved itself to be a delicious destination, with excellent service, an authentic French atmosphere, with view of the Sydney Harbour Bridge as an added bonus, and even a New York vibe as the city trains pass by to and from Circular Quay.
Of course, food is of the most importance when going French, and this place certainly does not disappoint.
The chicken liver parfait is delicate and light, with an explosion of flavour as you spread it over your slightly toasted buttery, milky brioche. The escargots are delicious in a perfectly subtle garlic and parsley butter, covered with crunchy hazelnut fleurons.
One of my favourite dishes of all time, the steak tartare is wonderful at Ananas – it is hand-chopped (yes, it makes a difference to the texture) and pops with flavour with the quail egg bringing it a creamy balance. This dish is also served with a lightly toasted brioche, the sweetness of which makes an excellent contrast to the pops of flavour.
The signature bouillabaisse is a delight, with the perfect shellfish based soup, beautifully fresh seafood, and the saffron infused rouille. Be prepared for this this to be very ‘moreish’, and I recommend not trying to share one. If your companion would like to try the bouillabaisse, be strict, and make them get their own!
The Moules Frites is delicate and creamy with perfectly crunchy shoestring fries, the beef cheeks are full of flavour and practically fall apart, while the baked snapper pot pie is creamy with flavour that will intoxicate, and the Steak Frites are cooked to perfection.
While the French are famous for eating moderately, it is hard to follow their example with food this delicious. Be warned, as a result you may overeat. But as one of the signs above the diners reminds,
Je ne regrette rien!
While it is hard to eat food this good in moderation, make sure you leave a little room for dessert. The selection is small, but delicious, but if you are to have only one thing, it must surely be the Vanilla Creme Brûlée with raspberry sorbet, with the tangy sorbet perfectly balanced with the sweetness of the brûlée.
The cocktail and wine selection also deserve a mention, especially the Ananas (pineapple) Bellini. This delicious house-speciality, with a pineapple twist in an ode to the name of the restaurant, is refreshing and delicious. There is an excellent selection of French wines to complete your French experience, and you can even treat yourself to a very reasonably priced magnum of Moët et Chandon, which I think we can all agree is just great fun!
The fact that the staff are delightfully French, and offer an effortlessly friendly and professional service, adds to the perfect atmosphere of Ananas.
It’s also worth mentioning that Ananas is famous for themed brunches and dinners, from lobster and champagne brunches, to bouillabaisse and unlimited Moules Frites days, so make sure you keep an eye on what’s happening from week to week!
2 Phillips Street
Circular Quay, Sydney, NSW, 2000
Monday to Sunday, lunch from 12pm until 3pm, bar menu 3pm until 5pm, and dinner from 5pm until 10pm
Phone: +61 (0)2 9259 5624
Online booking: Ananas