Does Hubert live up to the hype?

How good is Hubert?

Hubert arrived a year ago in a flurry of raving critics, must-go pronouncements and two hats in it’s first year. So yes, it is hot. But does it live up to the hype? And which is true – the moans about terrible service or the raves of being brilliant? I’m finally going to find out.

The solid circular staircase to the basement provides a bit of moody, slightly worn glamour. The dark room with dark furniture and dark lightening is atmospheric indeed. Good, and a bit unusual in Sydney at the moment, but not a theme we haven’t seen before.

 

hype the olde world basement charm of Hubert's
the olde world basement charm of Hubert’s

Let’s get into the food

I’m enjoying a vermouth spritz as the very tempting charcuterie platter arrives, quickly followed by the duck parfait and the Le Grand Aioli. Add some moreish home cooked warm bread and the table is filling fast.

And it just keeps coming, the juicy little morsels of escargot to be fished out of their shells with XO sauce. The wagyu beef tartare might look a bit boring but the flavour and texture is protein at its best. The table can barely hold all the plates, it’s a delicious pick and mix feast. I find it easiest to pile weird mixes onto bread and eat with my hands.

Charcuterie platter
Charcuterie platter
Duck parfait with maple syrup jelly
Duck parfait with maple syrup jelly
Le Grand Aioli
Le Grand Aioli
Roasted Escargot with Hubert XO sauce hype
Roasted Escargot with Hubert XO sauce
Prime Wagyu beef tartare
Prime Wagyu beef tartare The calm after the storm

 The calm after the storm

Once the maelstrom of dishes have been picked clean and removed, I feel slightly exhausted, in need of a little time out. We have a small chance to relax and refresh but all too soon the next plates are coming, albeit in a much calmer and sensible manner. For all intents and purposes this is our “main course”.

Chicken fricassee is the star ,a whole chopped bird on the plate, including head and feet, on bread sauce and green garlic. The Pommes Anna, a classic French dish of thinly sliced, layered potatoes, is cooked in so much butter that I think I can feel the butter flowing into my arteries. The light green salad does its best to pretend to offset all that delectable butter, to no avail. I was happy with the feet but definitely not touching the head and beak. I am also far too full for comfort and this set menu isn’t finished yet.

Chicken Fricassee with bread sauce and green garlic
Chicken Fricassee with bread sauce and green garlic
Pommes Anna
Pommes Anna

Overkill by dessert

It’s a creme caramel, so of course we partake, even this full. It’s billed as a bitter caramel and it really is bitter, perhaps not in a good way, the burnt flavour completely overriding the sweetness and creaminess.

Creme caramel @ Hubert
Creme caramel @ Hubert
A lusciously darkened french basement
A lusciously darkened french basement
the banquet menus @ Hubert Restaurant
the banquet menus @ Hubert Restaurant

So does it live up to the hype, good or bad? Not for me I’m afraid. There’s nothing wrong with it, but it seems good, not great. Food well executed but unoriginal, service seamless but lacking personality, room well decorated but seen before. We get neither the terrible service described by some, or the desire to rave about it and swing from the rafters. I’ll have to park this one in the middle of the road for now.

Vicki P Written by:

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