After an absolutely exhausting and draining week of college on-site on my behalf and a busy week on Fashion Obsessed Girl’s side, it was lovely to know that we both had something to look forward to at the end of the week – a fancy dinner at Hilton’s one-hatted Glass Brasserie restaurant.
We had made a booking for 7.30 pm on a Saturday evening, and this sitting was quite full. The restaurant was busy and very moodily-lit – so much that it took me a while for my eyes to adjust. However it didn’t deter from the super-sleek interior with the centrepiece wall of wine bottles. I’ve been here on two other occasions (one for the Sydney Morning Herald’s Appetite for Sydney and a work champagne breakfast) during the day but never at night and it was interesting to see the difference in ambiance created by the lighting.
The noise level was quite loud due to the high ceilings. We were also seated close to the open kitchen and could hear the head chef rattling off the orders, so there was a constant: ‘One barramundi-one duck-one gnocchi-one snapper-20 minutes from now!’
Service was flawless at the beginning of the evening, with ‘May I take your coat, madam?’ as soon as I sat down, followed by a ‘would you like a drink to start, madam?’ I don’t think I’ve ever been called ‘madam’ so much in my life. But why don’t we start with a cocktail? Fashion Obsessed Girl had arrived before me and had ordered the Butterfly Kiss ($18) (right): Muddled strawberries, orange and lime with orange and saffron syrup, shaken with Tanqueray 10 and Cointreau. It was a very sweet cocktail that reminded me faintly of strawberry lollies or something similar. I later ordered the Pavan Paradise ($18) (left), which was on their list of Aperitif cocktails, and was French martini-style with a sour-twist: citrus vodka shaken with orange blossom and muscat liqueur, Chambord, egg white and pineapple juice before being garnished with a grape.
…And there’s a photo of the food blogger at work 😉 (Photo courtesy of Fashion Obsessed Girl)
The wine list is one of the longest wine lists I’ve ever seen in my life and made my head whirl just looking at it, so I declined anything after my cocktail. Upon making our orders, we were brought a bread bowl with two types of bread: a very soft, fragrant white and a similarly softer brown bread but embedded with raisins and the dough having an amazing caramel-like flavour. The waiter poured the extra-virgin olive oil at our table.
We had decided to skip entrees and go with two mains, a side and a dessert each. After looking at reviews from Eatability and Urbanspoon the week before, I persuaded Fashion Obsessed Girl to go for the kingfish, as she prefers seafood, while I went for my all-time favourite protein – duck.
The Duck breast with honey & spices, beetroot puree, endive, pickled cherries, garlic chives, verbena jus ($44) arrived just a little bloody-looking on the plate, but this was due to the beetroot. The duck was cooked to a tender medium-rare, although I probably would have preferred if it was a bit more on the medium side. The beetroot was well-cooked, as well was endive, but I didn’t particularly enjoy the idea of getting garlic breath from the chives and so ignored them.
Fashion Obsessed Girl’s Roasted black kingfish, Jerusalem artichoke puree, pear, chestnut & truffle ($45) arrived with a wonderful wafting aroma of truffle.
The fish was well-cooked and the skin very crispy. The artichoke puree was beautifully creamy and complemented the truffle. However with kingfish being quite a sweet white-fleshed fish, combined with the pear the entire dish was actually very sweet, and I felt that it needed more balance to offset it.
We shared a side, the Rocket, pear, blue cheese and walnut salad ($11), where the blue cheese packed a fair bit of punch with the peppery rocket and creamy pear.
Onto dessert. Always my favourite part of any meal! After some hard deliberation, I had selected the Honey & lavender semifreddo, apple & basil jelly, raspberry & lemon macaroons ($19) as anything with honey ice cream always wins me over. The spelling of ‘macaroons’ on the menu annoyed me a little as I knew what came out would actually be the French macarons, not the rough coconut macaroon things. The fact that this error was on a high-profile restaurant’s menu frustrated me and still does.
I have to admit I was a little perplexed when my dessert arrived. It actually looked like two massive apricot and almond white cheeses, with a childish arrangement of coloured spheres and two licorice-shaped logs (the apple and basil jelly) on the side. The waiter then proceeded to pour something similar to a creme anglaise between the two jelly logs. I sat and stared at it for some time. I really didn’t expect this manner of plating from a fine dining restaurant, where little things like having the jelly in cubes and arranging it around the plate with little tear-drop dollops of the custard could be done so easily. While the flavours in the dish were faultless and all complemented one another perfectly, I couldn’t help but think that it must have been plated by a different kitchen entirely compared to Fashion Obsessed Girl’s dessert:
Had I not gotten mine, the Milk chocolate & hazelnut panna cotta, candied blood orange & brioche cream, with blood orange sorbet ($19) is what would have happened. To put it simply, the dish set out how perfect the marriage of orange and chocolate has always been and will forever be. The sorbet was a punch of flavour, the panna cotta silky and the orange-brioche cream thick enough to coat your tongue. The white powder in a line across the plate was a sherbet-like substance that acted as a mouth cleanser as well.
A lovely meal, however I did feel that some dishes may have been tweaked to be made amazing. I still can’t quite get over the presentation of that dessert, especially considering the standard in plating of all the dishes I’ve had there so far.
488 George Street
Sydney NSW 2000
(02) 9265 6068