12-Micron, Barangaroo, Sydney

Eat, Restaurants, Sydney / 5 April 2017

12-Micron Adds Some Sweetness to Barangaroo

If you haven’t yet made it down to Barangaroo you’re in for a huge shock. What was once just a giant vacant piece of land is now overflowing with impressive bars and restaurants. Over the past year in particular, it feels like we’ve written about a new bar or restaurant opening in the precinct every week. So at the risk of sounding like a broken record or the “official Barangaroo spokesperson” (of which we are not) we are here once again. This time slightly off the regular strip of restaurants along Wulugul Walk and around the corner where we find 12-Micron.
This impressive new 230-seater restaurant is perched on level two at Barangaroo Avenue and can be entered via Watermans Quay. Step out of the elevator and the first clue that you’ve arrived at a giant venue is the fact they have their own front desk and waiting area. How many restaurants have the real estate for this luxury? It’s almost as though you’re checking into a fancy hotel for the night and adds to the excitement. Although it makes for an interesting sticky beak, turn a blind eye to the giant crater and construction zone to your right where the casino is mid-build. Instead, push on past towards the bar and take prime position on the balcony to take in the harbour views with a cocktail.
At 12-Micron you have options. This is a restaurant, bar and late night dessert kitchen all in one. So depending on your mood or occasion there are a number of reasons to make this visit. Pop down after work and order a classic cocktail or maybe one of their signature drinks such as the Salted Espresso Martini ($21) made using 666 Pure Ali Coffee, Applewood Espressocello Liqueur, espresso and salted caramel or the Grand Old Fashioned ($25) with Matusalem Gran Reserva, Pedro Ximénez, grapefruit bitters, and Aztec Chocolate Bitters. They certainly aren’t the cheapest drinks in town but pair it with the view and your cushy surrounds and it’s justified. The other thing we like about the cocktail list at 12-Micron is the full page of mocktails they’ve created. On occasion, I try to take a night off the booze (I know, it’s shocking) and if I drink another boring lemon, lime and bitters I’m going to die of voluntary dehydration. Give me a “Sea Breeze” ($11) combination of grapes, elderflower syrup, lime and mint any day.
If you’re feeling peckish order some snacks at the bar.  The six-strong bar snack menu includes a mushroom taleggio toastie and wagyu cheeseburger. Sommelier Lyndsey Carr has compiled a 400 strong and growing wine list (32+ available by the glass) that’s predominantly Australian and caters for a broad range of tastes and budgets.
If you’re looking to settle in nab a table in the main dining room. Following the current trend 12-Micron focuses on Australian produce with Executive Chef Justin Wise (The Press Club, The Point Albert Park) sourcing ingredients from a range of producers to create a menu divided into four parts: earth, ocean, land and air.
Earth includes dishes such as the paperbark baked vegetables with fruit spice and goats curd ($18) and a delicious assortment of pickled mushrooms served with celeriac, Mount Buffalo hazelnuts and sorrel ($19).
Ocean is represented in the form of a lobster omelette and Moreton Bay bug rice paper rolls with lemon aspen nam jim ($23) to name a few. The Skull Island king prawn steamed buns with wasabi, green mango and tobiko ($11 each) are a good idea but awkward to eat. The prawns come with the tail still intact so you need to reach inside the bun to pull that off first and while you’re rewarded with a delicious, juicy prawn it comes with an over-firm, chewy bun.
Half pigeon with Aussie master stock, red cabbage, and Illawarra plum tick the air box. Moving onto the land the lamb with spinach, ironbark honey and damper ($29) and the suckling pork with caramelised garlic and onions, preserved riberries ($38) are both beautifully presented. Despite being small portions the flavour is there and the produce shines through. There’s nothing particularly ground-breaking about these dishes but this is a winning formula in Sydney and will no doubt win over the corporate crowd (and card).
Where 12-Micron really sets itself apart is in the dessert department. Which is a good thing considering they’ve included a 64-seater dessert bar in the restaurant. Open till late you can pop by for a sweet treat or go all out and book in for one of their dessert degustation. They offer the choice of three, five or seven dessert courses created by pastry chef and TV personality, Darren Purchese. Well known amongst Melbourne foodie folk with his popular Burch & Purchese Sweet Studio this is the first time he’s run a kitchen in Sydney.
Expect dishes such as the coconut sago with passionfruit, ginger and mint and his signature dark chocolate mousse with salted caramel, tonka bean, mandarin and Zokoko chocolate. But it’s the deconstructed Gin and Tonic ($22) that blows us away. Elements of Four Pillars Gin, lime, lemon, cucumber and juniper and meticulously presented on a beautiful plate. Every mouthful perfectly captures the unique elements of this age old drink making it familiar, fun and exciting. Take a seat at the dessert bar to watch all of the action, it’s a Sydney bucket list for any budding pastry chefs.
With so many different elements it’s hard to know where to being at 12-Micron. But everything has been well thought out. The name “12-Micron” refers to a rare and coveted fine wool fibre which, much like an ingredient in the kitchen, is refined into a beautiful garment. The fit out, courtesy of SJB Architecture & Design, is striking and again a nod to Australian lifestyle. SJB Director Kirsten Stanisich explains the “green and blue stone cobbles and tiles evoke the colours of a gum leaf and a rough bark texture is introduced through leathered finished granite and loose fit leather sofas with ruffled detailing.”
This theme continues through to the bespoke, earthy plates and the incredible cutlery (I need these knives and forks in my kitchen drawer).
Whilst 12-Micron is a vast restaurant with lots going on, those looking for exclusivity can book the private dining space. It seats up to 20 or stands 40 and features stunning solid timber walls allowing for complete privacy or can provide a window through to the dessert bar. Floor to ceiling glass overlooks the streets below, it has exclusive lift access, as well as personal sommelier and wait staff for a luxe experience. Dessert aside, that sounds pretty sweet to us.
Level 2, 100 Barangaroo Avenue (enter via Watermans Quay), The Streets of Barangaroo
02 8322 2075
Restaurant open Mon – Sun I Bar open midday – 1am Mon – Sun I Dessert Bar last bookings 11pm Mon – Sun