Here's my story - I worked for Manta Restaurant for a day, then I heard China Doll was looking so I bailed and started at my current job.
It's not that the food was bad; it's just that their commitment to serving top level produce was not matched by the number of people eating at the restaurant - therefore, costs had to be cut elseswhere - no kitchenhands during the day, always running out of stock and produce when it gets surprisingly busy; things like that. Tough working conditions.
But I really wanted to dine and try the food; and a $447 bill between 3 covers later - I did; and it was good. I had to check if my wallet was still in my pocket walking back to the car, and one of my dining colleagues nearly had a heart attack, never having to pay that much for a meal in her life.
So why does it cost so much?
Let's start with some 'Manta Martinis' (martinis with lychee), and 2 glasses of cab sav, starting with angel fries: house-made fries generously topped with parmesean regianno and black truffles (thanks to knowing the guys in the kitchen, an extra handful of truffles). Pair that with some Clare de Lune oysters from Bateman's Bay, and you have something to enjoy the sunshine with.
Then, something from the kitchen:
Scallops on Jerusalem artichoke puree, minted peas, white asparagus. Very kind, guys!
A raw selection plate later (I ate it before taking the photo, but if you want to have a geeze, check out NQN's blog post on Manta), the main course (along with a side of fish and salad somewhere underneath that plate):
Oh yess - $210 worth of wagyu rib eye on the bone, with bone marrow and field mushrooms, sides of Bearnaise, salsa verde, mustards - more value than Rockpool at least.
Still, a bit shaken by the bill though. I *am* on a chef's salary.
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