Miles — birthdays, moving, and heroes

After flying across half the world, and spending much of the day making like labourers and doing some heavy lifting, the rainbow appeared: dinner at automata, one of Sydney’s hottest new restaurants.

In a city where food is taken very seriously, getting a few ‘hats’ from the venerable — for want of a better term, say, storied — Sydney Morning Herald is no mean feat. So it was off to automata we three traipsed to: after slaking thirst at the venerable, nay, storied, Eve’s Place.

J1 opted for the beverage pairing menu ($160), while j2 stuck to the bread of life with a concoction that had corn as its central ingredient: corn beer.

Top: snacks: fried fish skin and grilled gem lettuce. Above: mackerel with black garlic and leek.

Libations came thick and fast, beer, pairing wines, and a strange one called orange wine: midway between rose and white, it went down easy, but came back hard. Before long, carrying, cleaning and organizing took a toll, and eyelids grew heavy. But the machine that was the menu did not let up: wait staff appeared every now and then, attaching outsize meaning and explanations to plates of animal, vegetable or mineral. Yawns, barely suppressed, were preferred responses. Outright indifference sparked by tiredness was instead the norm.

King prawn with asparagus and something-something jus. Scarfed down inelegantly, sleep was preferred. Below: lamb heart with pickled fennel — very nice, but offal and tired limbs make for poor bedfellows. Convincing ourselves that it actually tastes good was a futile exercise — even though it was vey good. If you must eat heart, this would be good place to start.

Wagyu ribs followed, but an almost 10-minute delay between the fourth and fifth dishes meant the party or three was living on the fraying edges of wakefulness. And then, thankfully, dessert. A shot of flavour, and no less important, sugar, lifted spirits.

Walnut ice cream, with dried berries and stone fruit.

The real prize: brother going the distance for brother, and not once complaining.

These two — there are no pairings that are better.

Even at automata.

The menu: sounds better than it tastes, unless you are dining with your brother.

Or sons.

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