For some reason, I didn't have high hopes for Taxi. It had been on our to-do list for a while, but kept getting bumped for newer, more glamourous venues. How exactly can a restaurant be more glamourous than the glass and steel cage perched atop the centerpiece of Federation square? Good question - maybe that was why I was worried. After having high expectations disappoint, I didn't want to expect too much. Maybe I should have.
It was a lazy Sunday lunch, the kind that involves a good bottle of white (I'll gush about the wine list further down), good company (wife, in this case) and great food worthy of the great wine. (Perhaps my food/wine priorities are a little reversed, but I'm sticking with it.)
We started with arguably the best quality assortment of sushi and sashimi we've ever had, termed "Jo Moriawase". Sure, the one or two pieces we had a Tetsuya's was probably more creative, and I don't think I'll ever top the Tuna belly from Ocha in terms of flavour, but for a large sushi platter, the quality and variety was overwhelmingly impressive. And on a Sunday! Match that with half a dozen oysters topped with a crab, coriander and chilli salad and you're getting serious about this lunch thing.
By this stage, we'd finished our pre-d's: a Fat Yak Ale from Matilda bay (which seems to be everywhere these days), and Alicia's usual mocktail. I got the impression that a pre-lunch beer was an odd choice at such a swanky establishment, but it's just how I roll. By the time entree had arrived, we were well and truly attacking a beautiful bottle of Alsace Riesling. (Albert Mann 'Schlossberg' Grand Cru 2007, $160). For those of you fortunate enough to have been to Alsace and tasted a Grand Cru Riesling, I don't really need to explain. For those who haven't, I suggest the wine list at Taxi. It's the perfect accompaniment to the Japanese influenced, seafood-heavy menu, the floral aromas enhancing the experience considerably. Actually, come to think of it, perhaps that's the reason I enjoyed Taxi so much. I probably don't need to praise the wine list given it's recent awards, but I will say that there are three pages of Riesling alone. 'Nuff said.
While we had intended to try a couple of the a-la-carte dishes, as our waiter explained the mouth=watering specials we were seduced by their elegance and simplicity. I rarely order fish for a main course, particularly as I prefer fish either raw or barely seared. Thankfully, I went against my usual trends, and found a new reason to order fish. Perfectly cooked kingfish fillets, tender, juicy, slightly crispy, resting next to seared scallops with a tangy grain mustard sabayon-style sauce. I'd been convinced. This place was worth the price tag.
Of course, you can't really test a restaurant without having a souffle. Accordingly, we filled our secondary, dessert stomach with a wonderfully light, fluffy passionfruit souffle, paired with a very tart passionafruit sorbet (perhaps just a little too refreshing?). Some may say that this was all a little over-indulgent for a "casual" Sunday lunch. I'd say I'm coming back. Despite it taking quite a while for us to get around to visiting Taxi (which was admittedly mostly my fault), it's given me a great first impression. I'll be heading back for dinner soon - hopefully it will maintain the same high standard during a busier Saturday night shift.
Oysters with Crab, coriander and chilli salad
Slow cooked rolled pork (special)
Pan fried kingfish with seared scallops and grain mustard sabayon sauce (special)
Albert Mann 'Schlossberg' Grand Cru Riesling 2007, $160