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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The Dining Room Restaurant, Park Hyatt Hotel Sydney

The Dining Room Restaurant in The Park Hyatt Hotel occupies one of the most prime positions on Sydney Harbour. It sits under the Harbour Bridge and is located directly across from the Opera House, thus offering an incredible bird’s eye view of this timeless Australian institution. The Dining Room is the Park Hyatt Hotel’s signature restaurant, one of the most luxurious 5-star hotels in Sydney. The restaurant’s decor is every bit as sumptuous as the hotel (helped in no small part by the beautiful views) and comes with a revamped menu following the recent appointment of its new Head Chef Franck Detrait who joined in October 2013. Chef Detrait has cooked in many notable restaurants in France including the one-star Michelin restaurant Vendôme in Paris where he worked closely with the highly acclaimed Jean-Francois Rouquette.

The Opera House at Dusk, from The Dining Room Restaurant

The Opera House at Dusk, from The Dining Room Restaurant

The tasting menu was great value at $95 (about £51) and was hard to pass up. But first we celebrated the beauty of Sydney Harbour with some Sydney rock oysters ($5 each – about £2.70) which were fabulously fresh. The delicious shallot vinegar dressing was also well judged for both sweetness and acidity and complemented the oysters nicely.

The Dining Room - Sydney rock oysters

Sydney rock oysters

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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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Quisine by Guy Savoy Doha

Quisine by Guy Savoy Doha is the first restaurant in the Middle East by the famous three Michelin starred French chef, Guy Savoy. Quisine embraces the same philosophy of Restaurant Guy Savoy in Paris and therefore bears many striking similarities including a menu that adopts many of the dishes available in Paris, albeit with some local twists thrown in.

Chef Guy Savoy believes that the environment in which you eat in is as important as the food itself, and accordingly the interior of Quisine also embraces Guy Savoy’s deep passion for style and beauty. Jean-Michel Wilmotte, the Interior Designer responsible for many of Guy Savoy’s other restaurants, also took charge of designing the Doha outlet. With Quisine by Guy Savoy he has created a spectacular space with a monochromatic colour scheme that creates both a sense of harmony and indelible comfort. A mesmerising wall of flickering flames also greets diners as they enter the restaurant.

Quisine by Guy Savoy

Quisine by Guy Savoy

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Spice Market By Jean-Georges at The W Hotel Doha

Spice Market by Jean-Georges is one of two restaurants at the W Hotel Doha by celebrity Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten (the other is Market by Jean-Georges). Best known for his three-Michelin starred flagship restaurant Jean-Georges in New York, his global restaurant empire spans across several continents and includes more than 30 restaurants. From his initial roots where he trained under Chef Paul Haeberlin at Auberge de l’Ill and Paul Bocuse, Jean-Georges went on to travel and work extensively in Asia. These experiences have provided the Asian influences that permeate much of his food and inspiration for Spice Market Doha.

The décor at Spice Market Doha is gorgeous and fuses South East Asian exoticism with European elegance to create an atmosphere that is casual, warm and sexy. This is a place where the beautiful people go and was heavy with an expatriate crowd on the Thursday night (start of the weekend in Qatar) of our visit.

We kicked off with some lentil poppadoms with a chilli tomato salsa which came out in place of bread. These were fabulous with the poppadoms being thin, crispy and nicely seasoned. The salsa was also wonderfully tasty with the right amount of kick.

Spice Market - Lentil poppadoms

Lentil poppadoms

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Ritz-Carlton Hotel Doha & La Mer Restaurant

After Dubai I headed back to Doha where I spent one night at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Doha. It’s located right on the water’s edge in the prestigious West Bay area, north of the Pearl (Doha’s version of Dubai’s Palm) and downtown Doha, and its strategic position means that the hotel offers expansive views of the City of Doha.

The décor is a blend of classic European and Arabic design, and would appeal to those who favour a hotel with a more classical, traditional feel. Particularly impressive was the lobby with its high ceilings where the opulent Grand Lobby Lounge is situated. It’s a great social meeting point where you might meet up with friends or grab a cup of tea. My deluxe room was similarly decorated in a classical style and was incredibly comfortable. The bed was kitted out with the loveliest of Egyptian cotton sheets to make for a heavenly night’s sleep.

Ritz-Carlton Doha Deluxe room

Deluxe room

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Tomo Japanese Restaurant at Raffles Dubai

Tomo Japanese Restaurant is a stylishly elegant restaurant located on the 17th floor of the sumptuous Raffles Hotel Dubai. It has an outdoor terrace that offers wonderful views of downtown Dubai which is perfect for pre-dinner drinks. Tomo only opened earlier in 2013 and in that time it has managed to sweep Time Out Dubai’s Best Newcomer of The Year Award.

But while Tomo may be less than a year old, Executive Chef Chitoshi Takahashi has long been recognised as one of the best Japanese chefs in the Middle East having worked in the region for about 30 years. He has an established following, and was recently flown to Qatar to cook for the Prime Minister of Japan when he was there on a state visit. Recognition indeed.

We started with a summer roll salad with tuna and avocado (AED70 – about £11.70) which was fresh and tasty. The combination of the avocado and the tuna was a great match and the tuna was excellent. To complete the plate was a mixture of miso sauce and a balsamic vinegar dressing, both of which were nicely done. However less sauce was needed on the plate.

Tomo - tuna & avocado roll

Tuna & avocado roll

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