Aria Bistro and Wine Bar

Bead-like curtains hung from Aria’s walls, partitioning the bistro into small, intimate sections. Abstract paintings hung from cream and black walls while chill-out music drifted through the interior, which was simple, modern with hints of sophistication. Overall, Aria felt refined yet laid-back; and we were in the mood to eat. Our starter arrived: Quick seared scallops with apple salad and balsamic vinaigrette. No matter how many bites we took, we just couldn’t shake off a growing sense of disappointment. While the bacon tasted alright, the scallops were surprisingly bland. Then the first main course—caramelized cod fish with steamed autumn leaves on lemon and caper dressing—came, and after the first bite, our disquiet started to ebb. Slightly crisp and browned on the outside, the cod was soft, tender and juicy inside, while the gravy provided a hint of sweet and sour. It was really very good. But the second main course—slow baked barramundi on creamy greens and cumber salsa—wasn’t as satisfying. While the cream-based sauce was not overwhelming and nicely complemented the barramundi, the fish itself was not spectacular. Then the dessert—chocolate sin cake with white truffle chocolate ice cream—was served, and we became converts at the altar. While the cake portion was small, it was heavenly. The slightly bitter chocolate was accentuated by a sweet aftertaste, creating a subtle yet rich mix of flavors. We had to dig into some of our steely resolve to say no to the second serving suggested by our waiter, who was attentive and friendly throughout the night. Aria also prides itself on being a place to chill out to cocktails and good wines. You can choose from the extensive wine list—all 19 pages of it—and sip wine until 2am on the weekends.