The Noma Australia pop-up is a hard act to follow, but Brent Savage and Nick Hildebrandt aren't fazed. They're more interested in talking about the new flavours and directions they'll be exploring at Cirrus, their fourth venture after Bentley, Monopole and Yellow.
"The range of ingredients and flavours is much broader than anything I usually do," says Savage. "Over the past three years we've learnt a lot about native ingredients and we'll be using them the way people use Asian ingredients, in pastes, dressings and sauces."
There will be smaller dishes such as grilled cos topped with whipped roe and anchovies, says Savage, as well as larger options designed to share. Think crab and lobster cooked over charcoal, and whole snapper steamed and then baked in a native-ingredient curry paste, and served topped with crisp-fried warrigal greens, saltbush, basil and mint. Desserts will also lean indigenous, as in a chocolate cake layered with wattle cream, orange jelly and orange marmalade.
The restaurant's interior style is a departure from the previous tenant's design, with a look that's warmer and more eclectic in tone. Pascale Gomes-McNabb, who created the look for all of Savage and Hildebrandt's other venues, has also designed this space and "still has quite a few tricks up her sleeve", says Savage. "There are some weird and wacky elements, including a vintage speedboat hanging from the ceiling."
Hildebrandt is recognised as one of the nation's leading sommeliers, and his list, which is long on white wines, promises to be as much of a drawcard as the menu.
Cirrus will be a celebration of seafood and fantastic wines, says Savage. "It's about having delicious, sustainable seafood in a casual setting."
So now that the pair is opening a seafood restaurant after turning vegetarian at Yellow, could it mean a steakhouse is in the pipeline? "I think we have all the bases covered; Monopole is a wine bar, but also has a meat focus," says Savage. "I'm hoping that's it."
Cirrus opens on Wednesday 21 September at 10/23 Barangaroo Ave, Sydney, NSW, (02) 8214 0505, cirrusdining.com.au