On a rainy and chilly evening we were lucky to attend a birthday function at Aqua Dining restaurant.
I was anticipating the view but to our dismay the rain and the pool visible from the windows brought up quite a bit of fog so our view was dampened.
Dinner was a four course menu with alternating dishes selected specially for the birthday function.

Amuse Bouche
We started with some slices of warm sourdough and olive oil which sated our grumbling stomachs before the service commenced. 
The Amuse Bouche that arrived was a goats cheese cream on a wafer thin biscuit-like bread base. The goats cheese was adoringly fragrant and coated your mouth in the creamy cheese goodness. It was a fantastic start to the meals to come and made us more eager for what would be next. 
King Prawns, stracciatella, dill tapioca, tamarillo. 
Not to be too finicky and nitpick the fine dining cliché, but the wording of ‘prawns’ as plural should be reconsidered considering it was clearly a single prawn cut into pieces. 
Anyhoo… 
This dish, although small in size, was a refreshing start and nice change from the dense creamy amuse bouche that we started with. There was a generous scoop of stracciatella cheese that was mild and soft to add to the bursts of dill tapioca and fresh prawns. A very subtle entree. 

Parmesan Praline, compressed pear, port jelly
When this entree arrived I was delighted to see the delicate plating. Cutting into the praline seeing the gooey parmesan lava ooze out was so satisfying. The combination with the port jelly and compressed pear were so beautifully balanced both in texture and flavour. It felt like the usual “wine, cheese and fruit platter” had upped their game on this plate. 
Risotto, red capsicum, buffalo mozzarella, anchovy crumb
This risotto came with pockets of melted mozzarella which is a welcome sight for any cheese lover. 
The first mouthful was rich with capsicum. The risotto was cooked al dente with just the right amount of bite. However a few more bites into it, the flavour becomes a little boring and the risotto starts to feel heavy. The anchovy crumb wasn’t quite present and the dish was overall quite filling. 
Orecchiette, Sicilian pesto, salted ricotta 
Although the pasta was a little on the softer side this dish looked and smelt beautiful. 
The combination of the complex pesto with the crunch of almonds and salty ricotta made for a wonderfully balanced and delightful dish.
The size of this pasta was just enough so that you weren’t full but still happily satisfied.
I would definitely recommend this dish or enjoy it again on another occasion. 
Kingfish, green peas, brown butter and buttermilk
The kingfish was so fresh but unfortunately the rest of the dish was very dry and flavourless.
I was looking for flavour but the most came simply from the peas. The fish was dry and very stiff when cutting into it and had no real flavour or seasoning.
A little disappointing considering the lead up to this dish.
Kurobata pork belly, apple chutney, turnip, vincotto

I was so happy when I got that first forkfull of pork belly. The fat had been rendered down to a melt-in-your-mouth texture and the simple pork flavours were enhanced with the vincotto and apple combo. I would’ve liked a little more turnip puree with the dish but overall I was very happy and satisfied with this main. 

Warm chocolate cake, milk ice cream
The chocolate cake was very dense and was filled with a molten dark chocolate interior. The melted interior was thick and rich and coated your mouth in the sticky and rich concoction.
The milk ice cream tasted exactly what was described, like a glass full of milk, no sweetness but was an additional relief for the tar like cake. accompanying it.

At face value this dish seemed comforting but turns out it was overly rich and not spectacular on flavour. The oozing cake was heavy and suffocating after a mouthful and the ice cream provided little relief to it all.

Coconut & lemon rice pudding, berry jam, caramelised pistachio

This dessert was presented beautifully and simply, however the flavours didn’t quite match up with the presentation. Although there was a distinct lemon flavour, the pudding was stiff and flavourless otherwise. There was no freshness to the pudding as it was quite heavy overall. The berry jam was nice, however it had a sharp and tangy flavour which complimented the biscotti. 
Coffee afterwards was fairly mediocre, nothing special about it and served tepid at that. 

We were looking for the petit fours which is usually served with coffee and tea but alas it never came. Perhaps it was because we had a cake for the birthday which was cut and served, but I thought it wouldn’t affect their regular service. 

Overall the staff seemed a little overwhelmed with such a large function and although they were friendly, the cracks were showing when the stress took over. Answers became short and ‘excuse me’s’ were ignored. The food had a great start but gradually became less impressive. Although nice the venue wasn’t spectacular in both service and flavour. 
Aqua seems like much more of an intimate setting, I’d like to come back again in a quieter and more intimate setting to see if the service and quality of food is any better.

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