The Bridge Room Sydney

THE BRIDGE ROOM

The Bridge Room in Sydney is located within the heart of the Sydney Central Business District (CBD) and is within walking distance of key landmarks such as the Opera House and Circular Quay. Owned by Chef Ross Lusted and his partner and Sunny, The Bridge Room is recognised as one of the best restaurants in Sydney, receiving many glowing reviews and high critical acclaim. The Bridge Room holds a Two-Hat distinction (out of a possible three) as awarded by the prestigious Sydney Morning Good Food Guide. In 2014 Chef Lusted himself was also recognised as The Chef of The Year by the Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide and as the Hottest Chef in Australia by the Weekend Australian Magazine Hot 50 Restaurants.

Chef Ross Lusted has had an illustrious cooking career, previously holding the positions of Executive Chef at Sydney’s Rockpool, Park Hyatt Sydney’s Harbour Kitchen & Bar and Singapore’s Mezza9. Chef Lusted then went on to become the Head of Food & Beverage Development for Aman Resorts before returning to Australia and opening The Bridge Room in 2011. The Bridge Room serves Modern Australian cuisine, drawing inspiration from European and Asian influences cooked with the best of local, seasonal Australian produce.

Housed in an art deco building, The Bridge Room features an open kitchen with a custom built charcoal grill. The dining room is rectangular in shape and is modern and airy in its design, with a key feature being the hand-made ceramics designed by Chef Lusted himself.

We had an amazing experience at The Bridge Room, starting with some Smoky Bay Pacific (on the right) and Port Stephens Rock oysters ($4.50 each – £2.10), both of which were gorgeous. Meaty and tasty with a rich sea flavour, the oysters were served with a shallot and red wine vinegar as well as a white miso dressing with chives that was fabulous.

The Bridge Room - London Food Blog - Oysters

The Bridge Room – Oysters

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Attica Restaurant – San Pellegrino No. 21 Best Restaurant in the World, 2013

In an age where foraging for ingredients is the vogue, Attica Restaurant in Melbourne has won out as the Australian restaurant which does this best. Chef Ben Shewry often wakes before dawn to forage for ingredients by the seashore. He also grows his own herbs and vegetables in his two gardens, one of which is situated behind the restaurant, the other in Ripponlea Estate in Melbourne. Foraging and cultivating such beautiful produce for use in his inspired cooking has earned him and Attica many awards including Chef of the Year 2014 and Restaurant of the Year 2014 from The Age (an Australian newspaper). In 2013 Attica also came in at No. 21 in the San Pellegrino World’s 50 Best Restaurants list.

The décor at Attica Restaurant is understated yet comfortable. There’s an air of expectation as you walk into the dining room. You can sense a purposeful energy in the way the waiting staff go about their business, as if the staff know that they onto a good product and that they truly believe in it.

While we perused the menu – an 8 course-tasting menu for $190 (about £102) – we were treated to some gorgeous homemade rye bread topped with wattle seeds, a rich Jersey home churned butter, and an incredibly delicious macadamia purée topped with a smoked macadamia oil and quandong (a natrive Australian fruit) powder. The combination of the two made for a thrilling taste sensation.

Attica Restaurant - The bread

Attica Restaurant – The bread

Next were the amuse bouches, the first of which was an unusual mushroom leaf to be dipped in a fermented corn juice with forest anise. The leaf is a native of Papua New Guinea and apparently only 25% of people can taste its mushroom flavour. We weren’t one of those people, but the leaf was fresh and inherently interesting when eaten with the intense, almost hollandaise like nature of the fermented corn juice. Alongside the leaves were some pickled chantenay carrots which were crunchy and sharply acidic.

Attica Restaurant - Mushroom leaves, corn puree and carrots

Mushroom leaves, corn puree and carrots

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No. 8 by John Lawson at Crown Melbourne

No. 8 by John Lawson is an upmarket restaurant offering modern Australian cooking using prime local ingredients in an urban setting. The restaurant is located in the Crown Melbourne, a multi-entertainment complex with a hotel, a casino, bars and a plethora of dining options including Nobu and Rockpool Bar & Grill by Neil Perry.

As the name suggests, the Executive Chef of No. 8 is John Lawson. Essex born, Chef Lawson has worked in some notable restaurants including the two Michelin starred Le Manoir Aux Quat’Saisons, Aurora in London’s five star Great Eastern Hotel and Daniel Boulud’s three Michelin starred fine dining restaurant, Daniel. Chef Lawson was also part of the opening team for Gordon Ramsay’s New York venture at The London and was the Executive Chef at Maze Melbourne before it closed.

Our first starter was a foie gras and chicken liver parfait with sweet mulberries and toasted sourdough ($24 – about £12.90). It was beautifully creamy and flavoursome with the mulberries working well with the parfait. The bread was good, but some buttery brioche might have worked better than the sourdough.

No. 8 by John Lawson - Foie Gras

Foie Gras

Two generous pieces of Portland black and blue tuna (£22 – about £11.80) had been gently seared and were thick, meaty and tasty. Accompanying the tuna was some black garlic, yuzu jam and aged soy which were pleasant. There were also slices of daikon (radish) for a touch of tang and some almond mushrooms, so called as they tasted like mushrooms soaked in amaretto. These added an interesting touch to the dish.

No. 8 by John Lawson - Tuna

Tuna

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Glass Brasserie Hilton Hotel Sydney

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.

Glass Brasserie - pumpkin soup

Pumpkin soup

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Altitude Restaurant Shangri-La Hotel Sydney

As the name suggests, Altitude Restaurant is perched high up in the sky, in this case the 36th Floor of the glamorous 5-star Shangri-La Hotel in The Rocks Area of Sydney. With its floor-to-ceiling windows, Altitude offers some of the most amazing panoramic views of Sydney Harbour imaginable.

Night views from Altitude Restaurant

Night views from Altitude Restaurant

But it’s more than just the views that make Altitude Restaurant a knockout destination. The restaurant has won numerous accolades including the Australian Hotels Association (AHA) 2013 restaurant of the year award. Before heading up the kitchen at Altitude, Chef Matthew McCool ran the kitchen at the renowned Aria Restaurant at The China World Hotel in Beijing. And prior to his Beijing stint, Chef McCool spent a number of years fine tuning his craft at some famous London restaurants including Bank, Chez Bruce, Tom Aikens and Gordon Ramsay’s Maze.

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Gowings Bar and Grill Sydney

Gowings was an Australian department store chain that specialised in men’s casual clothing and camping gear. Opening in 1868, it became an Australian institution with its iconic ‘Gowings’ building on the corner of Market and George Street, Sydney. Sadly Gowings went into administration in 2006 and so Gowings the department store is no more. Today, TopShop occupies the ground floor space that was once Gowings. However the name continues to live on in the guise of Gowings Bar and Grill which is part of the QT Hotel.

Gowings Bar and Grill is neatly perched above TopShop and is styled as a contemporary European brasserie with an edgy modern design. The restaurant holds a One Chef’s Hat as awarded by The Sydney Morning Herald’s Good Food Guide. The menu features a selection of raw fish, chilled crustaceans and salads, as well as rotisserie birds, wood fired oven cookery and steaks from the grill.

Gowings Bar and Grill

Gowings Bar and Grill

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Quay Restaurant Sydney, Australia

The view

The view

Peter Gilmore’s Quay Restaurant Sydney is probably the most critically acclaimed Australian restaurant on the international stage at the moment and Australia’s most awarded. It ranked 29th on the 2012 San Pellegrino World’s Best Restaurants List, the only Australian restaurant to make it into the top 50, and it holds ‘Three Hats’ from the influential Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide’s restaurant rating system, the maximum possible. Peter Gilmore is also something of a celebrity chef in Australia, with appearances on the ever-popular Australian version of Masterchef. He also won the Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide’s Chef of the year award in 2012.

One of the winning factors about Quay is its location right on Circular Quay West which offers diners some of the most spectator views of Sydney Harbour. Quay is spread over two floors, and to maximize on the views the tables are arranged along the windows as if at a 90 degree angle. On one side of the restaurant you get the Harbour Bridge, and on the other you have The Sydney Opera House. Otherwise there isn’t much else to the décor. It’s all white-linen laid tables and blue carpet. It’s worth noting that the view of The Opera House is sometimes obstructed when cruise ships are docked in the Harbour although the restaurant will advise you of whether this will be the case at the time of your booking.

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Sake Restaurant Sydney, Australia

Sake Restaurant

Sake Restaurant

Sake Restaurant operates a chain of contemporary fusion Japanese restaurants in Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne, with the Sydney branch sitting in the historical and touristy Rocks area near Circular Quay. The décor is lavish, yet simple; sexy, yet understated. It’s really nicely done. Catering to an upmarket and fashionable crowd, its hit the mark as the kind of place one goes to see and be seen.

As befits the name, Sake Restaurant has an amazing sake collection. The sake sommelier suggested that we try the Kozaemon Junmai Daiginjo as our aperitif (a small carafe is $58 – about £38). At over 300 years old, Kozaemon is one of Japan’s most established sake houses and Junmai Daiginjo is its premium label. It brews its sake in the mountains of Japan’s Gifu prefecture. It was delicious, as smooth as silk and an excellent way to start our meal. We also tried a couple of cocktails ($18 to $20 – about £12 to £14) which were also very tasty.

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