It’s been a busy few years for Aria. In August of 2016, Matt Moran’s flagship fine diner closed for a ten-week head-to-toe renovation, which saw the elegant space reimagined by designer George Livissianis (the Apollo, Cho Cho San, the Dolphin Hotel) with an earthier palette, lots of timber, leather panelling, plush seats and even plusher carpeting. Then came the appointment of executive chef Joel Bickford in 2018, who introduced a less-is-more approach to the structured two, three and four-course menus, as well as a heightened focus on native ingredients. And in December of last year, the acclaimed restaurant celebrated its twentieth birthday, with a series of special events that culminated in a New Year’s Eve extravaganza.
Now, the harbourside institution is adding another feather to its highly decorated cap: a brand-new bar menu. It’s the first time an alternative to the sit-down dining experience has ever been offered, and it’s a markedly more casual affair available only to walk-ins in the front bar area. Think finger foods like whipped cod roe topped with caviar and charcoal crackers, a crab sandwich with tarragon and lettuce heart, or even a Wagyu toastie with house mustard and dill pickle. Of course, you’ll find the usual suspects like nuts and olives, charcuterie, and cheese on there, too. The best part? Everything lands between $6 and $25, so you can blow more on one of the 80-odd selections by the glass on the splurge-worthy wine list – and hopefully still have a little left for a macadamia and acacia éclair.
Aria’s bar menu is served exclusively in the bar and available daily from 5.30-11pm.