Is the end nigh for the degustation menu?

Scott Bolles

With Assiette, Bilson’s, Balzac, Pier and now Claude’s on Sydney’s fine-dining casualty list, is the degustation menu set to head the same way?

A couple of years ago, it seemed every second restaurant offered a ‘‘deg’’, but as one seasoned Sydney restaurateur commented last week: ‘‘We want to eat what we want to eat when we want to eat it.’’

Bronte’s Three Blue Ducks is the latest to de-deg, dropping its degustation menu from August 21.

‘‘We never set out to be a special-occasion restaurant,’’ says co-owner Darren Robertson, who, as a former head chef at Tetsuya’s, is no stranger to the
degustation menu.

Robertson says they are keen to be more accessible, and the current menu has turned many diners off.

There has also been a setback with the Ducks’ ambition to open at the former Alio site in Redfern. Building work had begun on the new Three Blue Ducks venue but Robertson says complications between a third party and the landlord derailed the project.

‘‘It’s not looking good, but I’m still hopeful,’’ he says. However, they’re now scoping alternative sites.

Does the degustation menu still have a place in the fine dining scene? Tell us what you think in the comments below.