This venue is now closed
Ananas is an undeniably beautiful room. Designed with its namesake in mind, there are pineapples as far as the eye can see. Hand-painted tiles in the bar, lavish glass pineapple lightshades, even metal pineapple lamp stands decorate the entire room, which is bathed in a warm ruddy glow.
The menu, executed by chef Paul McGrath (ex Bistro Ortolan) is French classic. You might start with a salad (or salade, if you swing that way) of frisee lettuce, crisp, juicy little lardons (aka fancy-pants bacon bits) and shreds of confit chicken all topped with a splitting-at-the-seams poached egg that coats everything in a rich saffron yolk.
Perhaps you’ll chase your salad with steak frites – ours is a grass-fed sirloin smothered in café de Paris butter. The pile of French fries are pretty standard, but that steak is juicy and pink and the herbed butter is excellent.
You certainly won’t want to miss the salt-caramel éclair – soft, light choux pastry holds a core of whipped caramel cream and a slick of salt caramel on the top. It’s exactly the sort of dessert we like: simple, delicious, decidedly un-mucked with. Just an éclair on a plate. C’est bonne.
There’s a small nod to vegetarians, with an intricate salad of baby beetroots and toasted walnuts, while pappardelle with mushrooms and a warm hen's egg is slightly sticky and under-seasoned. It’s definitely a restaurant that favours carnivores. Check out the slow-cooked lamb served at the table in a beautiful cast-iron pot with a smouldering bundle of rosemary and bay – it smells like an edible smudge stick.
We’re not exactly sure if serving a crème brûlée on fire is the greatest idea – it means the toffee crust doesn’t arrive at the table with that beautiful crisp surface. It does look amazing, though, and the blood-orange cream underneath the ball of fire works well.
Side dishes are a little disappointing. A gratin of cauliflower and mushrooms is served in a tall, deep dish, which means less crunchy cheesy surface area on top and more steamed vegetables underneath. A side of broccolini with anchovy butter has a confusing scoop of tomato goo on the top. We eat around it.
We do have to mention the bathrooms, papered in the most extraordinary flamingo print. You might recall the 2012 controversy raised over the Meike van Schijndel urinals, shaped like a suggestively open red lip-sticked mouth and labelled misogynistic (because, you know, weeing in something that looks like a woman's mouth might be). The restaurant removed them after the controversy and even more tongues a’waggin’ when they reinstalled them once again.
Call us wowsers, but we won’t be happy until they’ve installed a toilet shaped like a beardy woodsman’s face for the ladies.
More about Sydney's best French restaurants.
2 Phillip St
|Opening hours:||Daily lunch noon-3pm; bar menu 3-5pm; dinner 5-10pm|