It’s hard not to think of deities when dining at St Michael 6003. There’s an image of the restaurant’s saintly namesake gazing beatifically over the modest dining room from a canvas on the dark walls. And the food also speaks of blessings from a higher power.
It is wonderful and complex and simply jaw-dropping in places, without being over-wrought or Heston(ed) to death. Culinary legends Scott O’Sullivan (Red Cabbage) and Todd Stuart (Petite Mort) are the brains and the money behind this joint venture. Their head chef is Andrew Mason who, like his bosses, is one of the finest chefs in town.
Don’t be fooled by the understated menu. Like: “Ocean catch plus other stuff.” Or “Wagyu beef, horseradish and hollandaise.” There’s a certain drollery in their understatement, but it’s all high-wire stuff. Menus change often. But on our visit, the “ocean catch” was a tight puck of red mullet, atop a fine salad of capers, tomato and crunchy beans, finished with a magnificently perfumed pumpkin bouillabaisse poured theatrically at table.
The Wagyu dish was centred on the hero protein, an earthy cut of beef melding effortlessly with a creamy, light hollandaise with the vaguest hit of horseradish. A deconstructed chicken drumstick was topped with a fine crackling of chicken skin, and soused with a delicious milky, port-y liquor and sweet muscatels.
Now that’s adventurous. And it works.
There are even Noma-style tricks such as rich crystal-clear tomato consommé with ethereal gnocchi. For dessert, a Nike-esque swoosh of chewy, fluffy, blowtorched meringue with an intensely honeyed ice-cream hits the spot. Continuing the theme of many of this year’s Top 50, St Michael is remarkable value as well. A complimentary amuse-bouche could be a fine creamy broccoli and spinach soup with tiny house-made bread rolls and cultured butter.
St Michael is a slice of heaven.