A little background: Automata is Head Chef Clayton Wells’ first solo restaurant, bringing a movable approach to a frequently changing five-course menu. Components stem from Clayton’s varied background at some of Australia and Europe’s dining institutions. Menus are formulated with freedom and energy that translates into the dining room, with beverages and pairings beyond wine. The warehouse style space along Kensington Street includes a mezzanine and communal tables.
My visit: Automata serves a five course set menu which changes regularly. The menu utilizes the best ingredients possible at that particular time with minimal fuss.
Our meal kicked off with additional small snacks. A succulent grilled wagyu beef tongue with brown rice miso and enoki mushrooms, served with serrano jamon wrapped around tamarillo, creme friache and touched up with a lightly citrussy yuzu/chilli ferment that enlivened the ham.
The bonito was beautifully torched and dressed in a lemony and slightly sweet vinaigrette which is a classic accompaniment to cut through the oiliness of fish .
The bug tail was cooked to perfection. It had a sweet delicate taste and a nice firm texture which counteracted beautifully with the silky eggplant. It was uniquely paired with a xo sauce which brought a delicious balance of sweet and salty, savory and spicy flavors to the dish.
In this rustic dish, Chef Clayton Wells used two types of mushrooms; fermented and raw, to intensify the earthy layers of celery root and onions. The buckwheat gave the dish an extra-crunchy texture. The taste was complex, sophisticated, addictive, and utterly delectable.
The pork belly was steeped in an intensely flavorful tamari sauce and the bitterness of the grilled greens helped temper the fatty meat.
The yogurt sorbet, jack fruit, meringue, chervil and sumac dessert was a killer end to a spectacular meal. The exotic flavors came alive when paired with the voluminous and satiny Italian meringue.
Verdict: Automata certainly met my expectations. They delivered consistently satisfying dishes. The food was sculptural and well crafted. I truly believe that Chef Clayton Wells successfully combined the fine dining style of food that he likes to cook with, with the casual restaurant feel that he enjoys eating in.
Happy eating 🙂
Kensington St, Chippendale NSW 2008, Australia
+61 2 8277 8555