The Heritage in the old Royal Insurance building is another of the impressive venues in the Brookfield Place development in the Terrace. Beautifully restored with all the trappings of the era it was built – columns, polished wood, high ceilings, Italian marble floors; I was particularly struck by the art deco pineapple base lamps that adorn the place.
We stopped off in the bar area for a short time while our table was being prepared – the bar fronts the Terrace with the dining area towards the back, looking out to the plaza in Brookfield Place. Lady FWO went for the obligatory rosé- this time Chateau La Gordonne, which we have had many a time – subtle strawberry and raspberry aromas, crisp and dry, a lovely food wine from Provence -while I ordered an aperitif, Lillet Rosé, over ice.
This is made from Semillon and blended with liqueur, bitter oranges and other berries to produce a drink with aromas of Turkish delight, cherries and plums. A lovely pale salmon colour, it has good acid, cherry flavours, with hints of rose petals, and finishes long and beautifully dry.
When we had finished our drinks we were shown to our table. (The only caveat I have on the entire experience is the size of the tables for two – a little narrow I reckon; too crowded when a couple of plates, wine and water glasses are all in evidence.)
Styled on the lines of a classic European bistro, the menu offers salads and starters which include steak tartare with toast; duck liver parfait with brioche; cured salmon with green chilli aioli and griddled prawns; mains such as crisp belly and crumbed rillette of pork; barramundi and marron; and steak and chips. As well as daily specials (coq au vin on Mondays, for example) and a fixed price menu in the early evening, sandwiches – croque-monsieur; reuben – are offered throughout the day.
For entrée we chose the soufflé and marinated beetroot, while for mains we plumped for risotto of gorgonzola and spinach, and sous-vide chicken breast.
The Heritage has a very good wine list – half a dozen of each or red and white by the glass – Bella Ridge Chenin; Dog Point Sauvignon Blanc; Laurence Icon Cabernet Sauvignon; Mollydooker Blue Eyed Boy Shiraz – a couple of sparkling – Piper-Heidsieck NV, Taltarni Blanc de Blancs – accompanied by an excellent range available by the bottle (half bottles and magnums as well) with some outstanding reserve wines some with prices to make your eyes water. We ordered a bottle of Cullens 2013 Mangan Vineyard Merlot/Malbec blend to accompany our meals. Petit Verdot also has a hand in this wine, which shows lifted plum and dark berries on the nose, and a hint of violets. The palate exhibits plums, cherries and spicy back notes; it has smooth tannins and is very well balanced. It looks to have good cellaring potential over the next 7 or so years.
A mix of yellow and red beet beetroot sliced paper thin, mild acidity balancing the sweetness of the beet, served with creamy pumpkin puree, sweet caramelized onion, lightly cooked green beans and slices of avocado. This was a light, fresh tasting dish, with an amalgam of flavours that blended well.
The soufflé of gruyere cheese was light, fluffy, golden brown on top, perfectly risen, slightly runny in the middle; accompanied by crunchy spiced pear, celery and walnut, it was a wonderful example of a cheese soufflé; an excellent starter.
The rice was cooked al dente, still wet from the sauce, and was given a salty, creamy lift from the blue cheese; spinach stirred through added colour, flavour and texture.
Roasted mushrooms cooked with garlic provided additional earthiness, a little heat from the garlic, and even more texture and mouth feel.
We were interested in the “chic” peas said to accompany the chicken, but alas they were simply chick peas, but I am sure chic all the same. The chicken slow cooked at low temperature, wrapped in slices of pancetta was delightfully tender and juicy, and very well seasoned.
Baby carrots and twirls of goats curd added other dimensions of flavour. This was another very well turned out dish.
Thinking we should try a dessert we decided to share a serve of New York cheesecake; well if this was one serve I have no idea how anyone could finish it – we managed perhaps half – it was more than enough for three or four.
Beautifully creamy, cheesy, sweet, with a lovely biscuit base, it was a top notch slab of cheesecake.
The Heritage is a very good restaurant – the food is classic bistro fare – the wine list excellent – waiters are professional, welcoming – the atmosphere grand – and the renovation of this beautiful old building a credit to the architects and owners who oversaw it – just another of the excellent tenants of this outstanding development.