Automata offers a five-course tasting menu throughout the week, with a more petite three-course menu for lunch some days of the week. And if you rock up to the bar area, you can order from a small a la carte menu. While, admittedly, it may not have all the flair of the full five courses, it still exhibits the same mastery. After all, if you get a chance to dine here, you certainly should – but reservations are a must.
Found in Chippendale, diners from all over the city flock to its warehouse-style environs for a chance to try Head Chef Clayton Wells’ food. His menus change with the seasons, and according to what’s particularly fresh. But there might be dishes like pork neck with aubergine, fermented cucumber and mustard oil. Or dried tomato, sheep’s curd, black plum, shiso and tomato vinegar. Adding a little sweetness, there might be a plate of manchego, pickled carrot, wild thyme honey, and fennel pollen. Or some yoghurt and marjoram sorbet served with pineapple, finger lime, and mouthwatering burnt butter caramel. Whatever’s in season will be handled deftly and crafted exquisitely here.
And there’s a drinks menu that, whether or not you’re going to opt for the pairing, is sure to offer something new and toe-tingling, from sake and artisanal soft drinks, to spritzes and cocktails that really know how to make the most of that tantalising bitter edge.
The interiors are sleek, setting the blue-grey of the concrete against the warm and welcoming wood of the communal tables. Upstairs, there’s a mezzanine that introduces even more wood in the arching sweep of the ceiling. Both areas play with natural light well, making it feel like an element of the decor. But it’s hard to let your gaze linger too long on the surroundings when the dishes start to arrive…