Old-school technique meets classic comforts at Clarke’s, a throwback restaurant worth celebrating.

Crisp white linen, confidence and old-school technique. That’s the Stephen Clarke way of fine dining. And there’s many a culinary wunderkind who could learn a thing or two about hospitality by adopting some of Clarke’s evergreen beats.

Since 2003 when he opened an unprepossessing shopfront restaurant in North Beach, Clarke has amassed a right royal fan club of followers who regularly cross suburbs for the technically-perfect, heart-achingly beautiful dishes he once cooked for the Queen. Yes, that one.

There’s many a culinary wunderkind who could learn a thing or two about hospitality by adopting Clarke’s evergreen beats.

In a past life he worked for a Count and Countess who loved their country sports, and it shows in the game dishes, which are his forte, and in his laboriously created Mottainai lamb “done three ways,” involving shoulder, ribs and a short loin, an overnight bone press, a four-hour braise, a two-hour roast and a pan-fry in lamb fat.

Duck confit, served with mushroom broth and celeriac baked in a saltbush-infused crust, reinforces the stock placed in classic kitchen skills. 

It all adds up to a holistic dining experience elevated with house-baked bread rolls with beautifully salted butter, high-end tableware and service from waitstaff who don’t miss a beat.

Yes there are foams, gels, emulsions and dots but, pretty as they are, none of it is gratuitous – each flourish and swirl has its part to play in the flavour stakes.

It takes time to work through the seven-course menu, but it’s a journey worth taking your time with, especially if you add the wine pairing.

Clarke’s remains a classic, white-gloved bulwark against the increasingly fast-casual wave. Classically modern, restrained, clever, beautiful – it’s all there. And you don’t need a torch to read the menu.