Clinton McIver, of Clayton Bowls Club fame, has launched Amaru, the name being a hyrbid of an Aboriginal term “Amaroo” meaning “beautiful place” and the Portuguese word “Amar”, which means “to love. Roughly translated to “a beautiful place to love”, it’s the ideal way to describe a luxurious, intimate, tasting-menu-only space, located on High Street in Armadale.
“One of my inspirations whilst conceptualising Amaru was a little restaurant in New York called Atera”, McIver says, who was so taken by the restaurant he wanted to create something similar, but with a decidedly Australian edge. The menu at Amaru will feature high quality produce and bold flavours.
Amaru certainly is intimate – there are only 8 wooden tables, 33 seats and plenty of floor space, giving it the kind of sumptuous space and privacy lacking in most modern restaurants. South Melbourne agency Meme Design have recreated a rustic elegance to the restaurant, with a slight nod to the Australian outback. Grey-toned walls are adorned with Aboriginal art pieces by Barbara Wier, and ‘Very Wood’ chairs are designed by This Weber.
Amaru offers a “casual but attentive” service style, where the experience is catered to each individual dining group’s needs. “Our team is small but talented and we employ more staff back-of-house than out front”, McIver says, “This means that sometimes we have chefs running the food, which adds a real honesty for our guests”.
For $120, diners enjoy 12 to 13 courses of contemporary Australian cuisine that changes daily according to availability, seasonality and what’s at its best.
The surprise is the difference in format from other degustation menus, where a wallaby tail dumpling, saltbush butter and mud crab toast with native plum and vinegar might be served simultaneously as “snacks”.
Palate cleansers preceding the mains include nectarine and grapefruit, while Greenvale pork, burnt apple, radicchio and oxidised pear may arrive before desserts that range from chocolate, miso fudge, yuzu vinaigrette or buffalo mozzarella ice cream, sun-dried strawberry and olive jam.
Diners can also try local cheeses and truffles at an additional cost. A $49 boutique menu is also available at lunchtime.
Masa Nishimoto of Lee Ho Fook and Luxembourg fame joins the Amaru team as sommelier, where he will focus on a wine list that aims to highlight small producers and organic products. A premium beverage pairing is available for $145.
1121 High Street Armadale VIC 3143 | 03 9822 01 44 | Open for dinner Tuesday to Sunday and for lunch on Thursday, Friday and Saturday | firstname.lastname@example.org