Aloft is definitely a date night destination.
The très moderne, Asian-fusion food is tremendous, delicately balancing the known and the new.
The view from the mooted blues and greys of the minimalist interior across the River Derwent is stunning.
Service is slick and professional, a well-oiled machine.
You’re close enough to your neighbours to wonder about what they’re eating while maintaining some discretion and privacy.
There’s no stuffed shirts at this fine dining experience. It’s classy and contemporary.
Last date night was my choice. I chose Aloft. It had been way too long.
The a la carte menu evolves, starting with snacks to whet your appetite followed by small and then large plates and finishing with dessert choices.
Life choices can be difficult and so it is for making the right menu choices when you’re eating somewhere special. Staff know their menu and are at hand to make recommendations to help choose the right quantity and combination.
New and noteworthy from this experience was discovering Aloft’s venture into food inclusivity. Banquet options provide for the vegan and the celiac.
Head chef, Christian Ryan told us that a lot of Aloft’s food can be easily adjusted for most major dietary requirements and that they are happy with notice to tackle unusual requests.
“As a business owner there is a huge market of people out there who can’t eat certain things.
“We would turn a huge amount of business away if we couldn’t provide for those people,” Christian told us.
“In fact, putting effort in for special food needs, in particular for vegans, has given us more word of mouth business within those communities.”
Case in point – the interstate visitors sitting next to us who chose the vegan banquet.
What we ate:
• turnip cake, kunzea an black vinegar mushrooms (2pce), $10
• agedashi silken tofu, burnt onion + baby leeks, $14
• green peppercorn duck breast and pickled cucumber, $22
• Japanese chicken liver parfait, waffle and onion and yuzu, $19
• aromatic hot and sour fish and garlic greens, $36
• chamomile pavlova, coconut cream and pineapple, $15.
We chose the Stefano Lubiana Chardonnay to go with.
Skipping through the menu I didn’t find a lot I remembered from previous visits apart from their signature bar snack, master stock pig’s ear and prickly ash which dates back to opening night.
Christian told us the menu has a few staples that they really enjoy cooking and eating themselves.
“Some dishes remind us of where we started, the people who helped make Aloft what it is and the quality we want to make sure we keep up to.
“But most of the menu is constantly evolving,” Christian said.
“We are always working on a handful of new dishes and ideas and currently there is usually 1 or 2 new items popping up most weeks.”
Christian said that some dishes stay for a while and some stay just a few days depending on produce levels.
“This also keeps things fresh for our frequent customers.”
There’s no mistaking we enjoyed a terrific meal.
As you know it’s wrong to show favourites. Oh sure, that’s kids not food, so here’s what really stood out.
They absolutely nailed the hot and sour fish which on our visit was ling; a plate with profound depth of flavour.
Turnip cake and tofu not your thing? Don’t knock it until you try it. They were both special dishes.
The texture of the chicken parfait was like silk and was perfectly complemented by the sweet onion and citrus yuzu. I know I rave about the best parfait around but this one was pretty special. A great choice.
Why or why I am the only one who EVER orders dessert at my table? Not only am I limited to trying only one option, I always end up sharing, but my new mitigation strategy is working.
This Girl is a MASSIVE fan of the meringue and this version with its juxtaposed calming influence and tropical highlights was gorgeous. And big. Dessert was the largest dish. I don’t regret my spoon request. I love this place.
Although I’ve made a big call that it’s a date night restaurant I’m also interested in their new pop-up breakfasts.
Scheduled on some Sundays, the best way to keep in touch with the breakfast offerings at Aloft is via their social media sites. They’re translating their food ethos into breakfast fun, with cocktails.
“It pays to keep an eye on Facebook and Instagram to see all the exciting things we have planned for 2019,” Christian said.
“We have a few chef friends who we are talking with to potentially do a Sunday with their own breakfast club menus.
“It will be fun to see how they might translate their food into a breakfast menu too.”
Sounds terrific. Can’t wait to go. It’s already in the diary.
The last time we visited Aloft – Chef’s Table.