Just prior to Sydney’s first lockdown in 2020, Meu Jardim opened its doors. The French restaurant sporting sleek, white, futuristic-like interiors partnered with bold embellishments (think: a striking fireplace and a grand waterfall) has been the talk around town since reopening. And all for good reason.
The unique venue boasts bespoke architectural design – the $4.1 million fit out is one of a kind, emphasising the use of premium products in both bar and kitchen to deliver a tantalising culinary and beverage experience like no other.
My recent visit to Meu Jardim for an intimate Friday night dinner was a truly remarkable one. When I go to a French restaurant in Sydney, it’s usually warm-lit, traditional; often a love letter to Parisian culture or the South of France’s cottage cuisine. Meu Jardim, on the other hand, offers a millennial bar scene paying tribute to Cannes or Nice’s nightlife with its plush, blue and white vibe paired with cocktails galore, modern flavours, and energetic elements. It’s not exactly ‘eccentric’ to Sydney, but it’s a welcoming addition to the city's progressive dining district.
We began with a round of MJ Royals – an electric fusion of Absolut Vodka, cointreau, apricot liqueur, pineapple juice, lemon juice, egg whites and simple syrup. The charged flavours compliment one another subtly, and all-roundedly brings on a grand aftertaste of citrus, romantically disguised in cool green tones.
We then sampled some small plates. We purposefully chose the most simple and effortless of their offerings to see how they captured the essence of France with their unique, imaginative flair: the baguette with butter and creme fraiche, and the burrata cheese with chilli tomatoes and basil. The bread, warm with a pillowy interior and perfectly crisp exterior, married beautifully with their creme fraiche. And the burrata dish was memorable for its balanced performance of textures and aromas.
Next we tried two mains to share: the mussels with onion, garlic, cream, parsley and baguette, and the lamb ragu pappardelle with broad beans and parmesan cheese. Mussels remind me of Aix en Provence. I have fond memories of when I was young visiting France watching my uncles smoking cigars inside restaurants, slurping down mussel soup. It sounds rather vulgar, but the taste of the soup (which, in France, is to die for) has a remarkably strong effect on me – a very nostalgic feel. So, I rarely choose mussel soup when dining out in Sydney so that I don’t ruin that amazing memory. At Meu Jardim, I brought on the challenge. Their soup had that great (but not overpowering) seafood taste and smell – which I felt was extremely authentic.
Although I loved their version of mussel soup, I still preferred the lamb ragu pappardelle. The incredibly rustic flavourings in the sauce and meat paired with the wide, flat pasta was very well done, and I can see why it receives such a great reception from others who've dined here.
Other fan favourites I’ve heard through the grapevine are the chargrilled octopus (small plates) and the whole snapper with heirloom tomato salsa and lemon butter thyme (mains).
Meu Jardim’s love note to progressive French cuisine is a delight, and we cannot wait to come back and dine again.