Monday, August 24, 2015

Bennelong Restaurant - Circular Quay

As soon as we heard that Peter Gilmore was starting a new restaurant, my friend had it booked in. My friend is a huge fan of Quay (particularly their desserts) and could not wait to dine in this new restaurant. My hubby, on the other hand, had some reservation. He didn't like the 'fusion' element of Quay. Likewise, my last experience at this venue (when it was the previous restaurant Guillaume), left my wanting more. Lucky for both of us, Peter Gilmore's new Mod Australian restaurant (focusing tons on the flavour of local produce) exceeded both of our expectations!

Being inside the iconic structure, it was a dining experience with wonderful views (and for this sunny afternoon - plenty of young kids plastering their faces to the window). The staff were friendly and nice, and patient enough with our indecisiveness - which is lucky cos I think we all wanted to order everything on the menu. The freshly baked bread, warm, crunchy crusted and with super soft innards helped with our decisions... maybe?

Opting for the 3 course menu, we managed to all order a different entree. Our friend's beef tartare was a hidden gem under a pile of puffed grains, mushrooms, sesame, and seaweed. Like it should be, the egg yolk was placed on top perfectly. The smoked Blackmore Wagyu was mixed with a fermented chilli paste. Getting a sense that this is packed full of flavour?

Our other friend opted for a safe and surely to be amazing entree of scallops. Three delicately and perfectly seared massive sea scallops accompanied with spring vegetables, a creme fraiche emulsion, lemon jam, herbs and flowers - all for a really neat and clean feel to the dish.
My went for an entree of slow cooked quail. This was a soft and succulent square of quail meat hidden under cultured and fermented grains, a brioche cream, really tasty mushrooms and jerusalem artichoke. Lots of crunch. Loads of mushies. It made for a good flavour combo.

Although all three entrees were delish, hubby's entree was the winner - a really big, super nicely grilled Lady Elliot Island bug. Loads of sweetness, perfectly cooked bug. It came with nice little organic turnip cylinders, radishes and flavoured with XO sauce. YUM~
On to the mains - hubby and one friend ordered the duck. Two substantial pieces of Holmbrae duck sat amongst raw and pickled hispi cabbage, black miso, freekah and seaweed. It was good. There was flavour. But hubby thought it was ordinary, especially when compared with his entree.
My other friend and I both ordered fish. He got the King George Whiting - a super tasty little fish in and of itself. It was served with three, again perfectly cooked, scallops, leeks, native parsley, celery heart and ice-plant (a flower). He liked it.
I might be biased, but I think that my fish blew his fish out of the water! I got served a whole John Dory (minus the head) on the bone, with orach, turnips, and umami butter. The seasoning on the fish was perfecto. So tasty! And the fish was cooked just right. Fresh and really tasty. And so much of it! You even get a nice little theatrical hand towel (you know how we used to have those t-shirts which went from being tiny to normal size when you put it in water? it was the same with this hand towelette) to wipe your hands on after you finish demolishing the fish.
Oh - and you get these super tasty potatoes and a plate of fresh lettuce with the mains.
Now we were onto a much anticipated event for the meal - the dessert. We ordered the same desserts around the table. The Opera-house-looking pavlova and the creme caramel v mille-feuille. Yes the pavlova that looks like an Opera House was inventive in it's looks - but flavour wise? It's a pavlova with really nice tasting cream and meringue. It had nothing, NOTHING on the creme caramel mille feuille. Such a playfully plated dessert which was packed full of caramelly flavour. Not overly sweet, and with tons of textures and temperatures all mixed in. I can't describe it - you just have to taste one for yourself. It was absolutely DELICIOUS I wanted to lick my plate~
Coffee and petit fours were last. Coffee was good (which is saying a lot for restaurant coffee), and the petit fours were these cute little caramel-filled cookies.
So all up, it was a great meal. Really tasty. Playful but with a lot of heart and emphasis on flavour. Hats are on it's way I think. I would definitely recommend this place and would definitely try my best to return :)

Food - 9.5/10
Service - 8/10
Ambiance - 8/10
Value for money - 7.5/10
Overall - 33/40

Bennelong Restaurant
Sydney Opera House
Bennelong Point
Sydney NSW 2000
Tel: (02) 9240 8000

1 comment:

Helen (Grab Your Fork) said...

Everything looks exquisite. Love the plating of everything especially the desserts!