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“best food in the Universe”
5 of 5 bubbles Review of Universal - CLOSED

Universal
Cuisines: Australian
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Local cuisine, Special occasions, Romantic, Business meetings
Dining options: Late Night, Lunch, Dinner, Reservations, Seating, Serves Alcohol, Waitstaff
Neighborhood: Darlinghurst
Sydney, Australia
Level Contributor
41 reviews
34 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
“best food in the Universe”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 2, 2012

Christine Manfield's ability to extract the essential flavour out of ingredients then match them is awesome. Superb food and at a reasonable price.

  • Visited November 2012
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank Chris2991955
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

111 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    73
    26
    5
    2
    5
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • Swedish first
  • Any
English first
Lake Macquarie, Australia
Level Contributor
74 reviews
41 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 45 helpful votes
“Love this restaurant”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 31, 2012

Everything about this restaurant is first class. It is a two chefs hatted establishment in Palmer St., Darlinghurst. There is inside and alfresco dining, fabulous lighting and funky decore.

The wait staff are very professional, very knowledgeable and friendly. Once you are seated they will explain the menu and take drink orders. The extensive wine list, innovative cocktails and beer selection are ' global top shelf'.

The food is absolutely exquisite. The dishes are not large, but the food is so complex and full of mouthwatering flavour, they are completely satisfying. I have eaten there a few times now and generally 3-4 courses is enough.

The owner/chef is Christine Manfield, fondly referred to a Sydney's Spice Queen, highly respected and deservedly so.

I like the cheeky dessert names, it all goes with the sense of enjoyment that you will experience at Universal.

I also choose to go with the wine by the glass with each course as I would have never experienced these wines otherwise. My husband has a beer with each course, all recommended by the wait staff.

You need to book ahead as this restaurant is very popular. We've missed out a few times. It is open for lunch on Friday's only. Other than that it is dinner I think from Monday to Saturday.

Visited October 2012
Helpful?
Thank jen8888
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Adelaide, Australia
Level Contributor
59 reviews
27 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
“I must be missing something.....”
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 31, 2012

First of all this is a hatted restaurant and after all the rave reviews on this site I decided to give it a try.
I did not like anything at all. I went with a friend for my birthday and from the get-go something wasn't right. We were greeted by a very surly waiter who pretty much grunted us to our seats. We ordered 6 dishes between us with the intention to share but could barely get through them. One top of that they got one of the dishes wrong but by then we really didn't care. I'm very often able to forgive bad service for great food, but it just one things after another. The concept of the restaurant, the ambience (I think they were trying for funky and trendy, but to me it looked kitschy and cheap), everything was wrong. The food was terrible. It is incredible to me that I found everything that we ordered in the restaurant completely unpalateable, but I did here. It is a first for me. There was not a single dish that either of us liked.
1. Quinoa was not cooked. I think they were trying to go for crunchy, but I don't think the texture of Quinoa should be like eating birdseed. They got stuck in our teeth and actually didn't agree with me or my friend (we spent the night suffering from indigestion after this meal.)
2. Veal was steamed and rare. That is just weird in every way. The favour of veal or beef comes from searing, not tepid steaming. It was slimy tasteless meat.
3. Duck is meant to be crispy, not crunchy. It was overcooked, dry and hard
4. The flavours in each dish were just incompatible.
5. Pork belly is hard to completely ruin, but even that was overdone and dry. And the sauce was just not compatible.
6. There were bones in the fish and eel. Actually first bite of the evening that my date had of the fish was bone.
I realise that not everyone has the same taste buds, but both my friend and I just did not enjoy this meal at all. Not a single moment. Both of us have been to our fair share of fine dining establishments, a lot of which are hatted.
Either it is hype over substance, or my friend and are are missing the punchline with this restaurant. Sorry will never be back.

  • Visited October 2012
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank TravellingLuv
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Level Contributor
27 reviews
12 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
“Spectacular in every way”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 26, 2012

The most divine combination of flavours and love the tasting menu so that you can experience the full variety of dishes.

Visited October 2012
Helpful?
1 Thank Gabrielle W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sydney, Australia
Level Contributor
85 reviews
65 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 38 helpful votes
“Fabulous, fabulous food! Can't wait to go again!!!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 25, 2012 via mobile

What a wonderful evening we had at Universal to celebrate a birthday and our wedding anniversary! The entree size plates allowed us to share our 8 dishes which included dessert and thus we experienced lots of different tastes, flavours and textures.The wine waiters were very generous in allowing my husband to try a couple of different wines before settling on one, service was impeccable! The food is fabulous and my personal favourites were the veal, John Dory and Gaytime goes nuts. Can't wait to go again, compliments to the chefs!!!!

    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank Lynette R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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