Rightly heralded as one of fine dining’s most remarkable talents across the world, Australian audiences might remember Clare Smyth from her appearance on Masterchef (season 11, episode 16) where she put contestants Derek, Jess and Leah under a considerable amount of pressure to recreate her Pear and Lemon Verbena Vacherin. However, some Australians might now know her from Oncore by Clare Smyth, her very first restaurant outside of the UK.
Before the opening of Oncore on level 26 at Crown, also home to Nobu Sydney, Smyth said she was eager to return to Australian shores and continue exploring the food and wine regions she discovered early on in her career when she lived in and travelled the country.
Since those early days, though, Clare has trained in some of the world’s most demanding kitchens like Alain Ducasse’s Le Louis XV in Monaco and worked under other culinary masters. None more recognisable than Gordon Ramsay, where she presided over Restaurant Gordon Ramsay as Chef Patron and maintained its three Michelin star status.
Thirteen years under Chef Ramsay has certainly sharpened more than just her knives as seen by the success of her own Michelin-star restaurant, Core, in Notting Hill—it was also the first ever restaurant to enter the Good Food Guide with a perfect 10/10 score.
Her Australian venture continues down the same track as Core: a balance between French formalism and locally-sourced products, now from Australia’s most dedicated farmers and food producers. Dishes on the Oncore menu include Asparagus ‘tart’, Coral Trout, Gundagai 5+ Lamb, and a Warm fruit mince pie with chantilly.
Diners can still find a selection of Core’s classic dishes, including Potato and Roe, a nod to Smyth’s farming childhood in Northern Ireland.
The Oncore wine cellar boasts an impressive 3000-plus collection of bottles from all around the world, including wines from Bordeaux, Burgundy and some of Australia’s best drops. You’ll be hard-pressed to forgo the wine pairing option when sitting down to one of the set menu options.
Oncore by Clare Smyth features a Chef’s Table dining option, where up to 12 people may gather round and watch Head Chef Alan Stuart lead the team in preparation for the day’s service. Having worked in Michelin starred kitchens like Restaurant Gordon Ramsay, Eleven Madison Park and Frantzen, he’s more than capable of delivering the type of dining experience that Clare Smyth has created at her restaurants.