Restaurant Guide

Automata: Restaurant review

Clayton Wells pulls it off time and time again.

Address

5 Kensington St
Chippendale, Sydney, NSW

Hours

Lunch Fri-Sat noon-3pm
Dinner Tue-Sat 6pm-10pm

Prices

5-course tasting menu $105;
7-course tasting menu $130

What's in a name? Automata, as machines, function seamlessly without any hint to their inner workings. Here, in an industrial setting warmed by buzz and hum, layers of depth and nuance lie behind a veneer of simplicity. Take the beef rump cap – pink, with a dark crust – for which the accompanying grains, called Job's tears, have been inoculated with koji for added savouriness. Or the circle of raw yellowfin tuna, covered with burnt watermelon dressed with tamari, which hides a centre of cream turned sour with kefir. The 5-course prix fixe may have crept to over $100, but based on the level of skill and the speed of thought, this is still one of the best-value tasting menus around. Marvel at the delicacy of beetroot slices pinched around spheres of sheep's curd and served in a broth of crab apple and fennel, or the depth of flavour in the ink sauce underscoring arrows of cuttlefish. Add a killer drinks list with a fondness for the rare and unusual, and staff who are both switched-on and relaxed, and this is a place that's ticking over nicely. Well-oiled, and running smoothly.
Phone:
(02) 8277 8555
Bookings:
Bookings recommended
Features:
  • Licensed
  • Vegetarian-friendly
  • Wheelchair friendly
  • Impressive wine list
Accepted card types:
  • American Express
  • Diners Club
  • Eftpos
  • MasterCard
  • Visa
Chef(s):
Clayton Wells
This review was made independently for the Gourmet Traveller Restaurant Guide. The guide's reviewers visit unannounced and pay their way.