Across the board, our experience at Ulla was exemplary. I think it's fair to say that there's isn't anyone else in Victoria doing anything quite like this. The sourcing of ingredients is impeccable (this is not uncommon in Victoria) but the style of plating/presentation was pretty unique around these parts. The flavours we experienced are becoming more and more common, for good reason. Use of in season product was primary, and the accompaniments were equally as delicious and important on the plates as the protein component. For example, my wife's short rib 'steak' was excellent, but her cauliflower agnolotti were exquisite. My lamb sirloin was fork tender (they didn't even bring a steak knife) but my English peas were summer on a plate.
We had four cocktails, and shared six plates between us, each different and excellent. Light touch, simple flavours, perfectly executed - everything from my bourbon sour to dessert. The sous vide rhubarb was like nothing I've had before.
The server was not able to answer some of my questions, but I tend to ask a lot of them. She made every effort to find out the answers and relay them back. Service was gracious but not overbearing. I caught our server keeping a close on us as we ate, and she totally busted me using our bread to mop up every last morsel from the plate, caveman style.
At first blush I thought portions were a little on the small side, but after three courses I remembered that less is usually more. Restaurants in Victoria tend to kill diners with big amounts of starch and a minimum of 6oz of protein, all totally unnecessary, especially at this level.
Based on their first weekend of business, I'd say they have a bright future ahead of them, especially after Streetlink moves. There is enough demand for this type of cuisine downtown for all, but it remains to be seen what happens when Peter Zambri adds another 120 seats in the downtown core.
Prices were right on par, with value being good to great. The ingredients on our plates and in our beverages do not come cheap. Attention to detail on the smallwares was refreshing, especially for a startup. Flatware was lovely to use, and very handsome. I expect they will be short some by the end of the week.
If you are looking for a big chunk of meat and some starch with blanched vegetables, look somewhere else. If you are looking for a creative, well executed menu in a simple, elegant space drop in and see them.
For full disclosure, we were expected last evening and I know both the owners and employed the Chef ever so briefly at one point, but I don't hold that against him.