Posted on Monday, 3rd February 2014
Glass Brasserie is The Sydney Hilton Hotel’s signature restaurant by Australian celebrity chef and restaurateur Luke Mangan. Chef Mangan cultivated his craft at Michel Roux ‘s 3 Michelin starred Waterside Inn, leading to the contemporary French influence that marks his cooking. Chef Mangan operates a string of restaurants in Australia and Asia, and in addition to having written best-selling cookbooks and a string of TV appearances, Chef Mangan famously cooked at the wedding of Crown Prince Frederik and Princess Mary of Denmark. Glass Brasserie has won a number of awards including the much coveted ‘One-Hat’ from the Sydney Morning Herald’s Good Food Guide.
Glass Restaurant holds an impressive 240 seats and has been lusciously refurbished in dark glossy tones by the highly claimed New York designer Tony Chi. Glass Brasserie is comfortable and glossy. It makes for a restaurant well suited for power lunches, especially as The Hilton Hotel in Sydney is a hub for business meetings and corporate travellers.
We went for the degustation menu ($140 – about £76.40), beginning with an amuse bouche of pumpkin soup with croutons and feta. It was really lovely with a pleasant sweetness. The croutons and feta added a nice contrasting touch to the soup.
The first course in the tasting menu was a fresh tuna sashimi made all the more exciting by its amazing garnish of ginger, shallots and Persian feta. Rather than being too spicy, the ginger was gentle and sweet and it really worked in combination with the earthiness of the shallots and the smoky aroma of the feta to complement the tuna.
A charcoal grilled octopus was less successful. The octopus tasted flat and was slightly over seasoned. Furthermore the tomato dressing was too acidic.
The free-range egg omelette of snow crab with miso mustard broth is one of the signature dishes at Glass Brasserie and it’s easy to see why. Filled with delicious sweet crab, it was beautifully cooked with a slightly runny core. The garnish of coriander, enoki mushrooms and sesame seeds really lifted the dish by giving it aroma and a touch of crunchiness. The finishing touch was the miso mustard broth which was tasty, but also quite salty. Had it not been for the saltiness of the latter, this would have been the perfect dish.
Tea smoked quail was the highlight of the day and was outstanding. The smoking effect on the quail was incredible and it gave way to a punchy aftertaste in the mouth. All the other elements in the dish were effective too – silky smooth almond cream, sweet prunes, grilled shallot, woodland sorrel. A wonderfully crunchy mixture of quinoa, nutty almonds and pumpkin seeds flavoured with truffle oil was also texturally amazing and very flavoursome.
Lamb rack with Indian spices, corn, tomato, broad beans and ham was a pleasant offering. The spicing was excellent and the lamb was tasty even if it could have been a little tenderer. Also more cooking was required as it came out quite rare. We adored the sweet corn purée but the cubes of ham proved unpleasant as they tasted processed.
Next was the cheese course (you get a choice of two per person) and the selection included a range of nine cheeses from around Australia, The US and Europe. We enjoyed the Holy Goat Brigid’s Wells from Australia and the Pont-l’Évêque from France, but less so the Carr Valley Snow White from The US.
The dessert in the degustation menu was a buttermilk panna cotta with a lime and coconut snow ice, marinated strawberries and basil cream which was which was decidedly refreshing from the sweetly marinated strawberries and the coldness of the snow ice. The panna cotta was well made and gave way to a good wobble.
We substituted one of our panna cottas with another dessert from the a la carte menu, a toffee soufflé which was well made. The soufflé had a good height to it and was soft in the middle. The accompanying pecan butter ice-cream worked well with the soufflé.
There was some lovely cooking with the likes of the special quail dish winning the day. Other dishes such as the omelette was rather memorable as well. Sure, the octopus dish didn’t quite work and the use of ham in the lamb dish was a little odd, but in the round this was a very solid, sound and tasty experience. The service at Glass Brasserie is slick and business-y, and in keeping with the décor and its position in the Hilton Hotel, Glass Brasserie cements its place as a great corporate lunch venue.
Food rating: 4/5
Service rating: 3.75/5
Prices: About $88 to $119 (about £47 to £63) for three courses excludes drinks and service.
The tasting menu is $140 (about £76.40).