Looking smack-bang across to Bennelong and Australia’s most famously-shaped house of opera, with water lapping on the edges of the wharf just below, dining at the Park Hyatt encapsulates everything we love about Sydney’s burgeoning food scene.
The Park Hyatt is the Rolls Royce of Sydney’s five star hotels (former guests include Elton John, Bette Midler, Jerry Seinfeld, to name a few), and the food at The Dining Room reflects the kind of service you’ll receive if you’re lucky spend a night upstairs. Despite the location and its pretences, the restaurant is surprisingly relaxed and cosy. With floor-to-ceiling windows, the restaurant itself is bathed in natural light, which allows diners to focus on what’s important – the food and the view.
Some chefs think they know everything. Franck Detrait is not one of them. When he arrived in Sydney late last year to take over the kitchen, rather than immediately asserting his power with a classic French menu, he sought the advice of Sydney chefs and suppliers. “I wanted to use local produce”, explains Franck, “and I created a menu around those ingredients, rather than the other way around”. The menu is not shackled by classic flavour combinations, instead, Franck’s menu features tuna tartare with mango and passionfruit and duck foie gras with Jamaican peppercorn jelly and umeboshi (pickled Japanese plum).
For me, the standout dish was one which didn’t challenge any culinary conventions – simple flavours but executed to the highest standard; plump Hokkaido scallops, quickly seared, served with a ginger, coconut and lemongrass bouillon, poured at the table – magnifique. To top it all off, there’s a superb wine list and the service is politely old-fashioned, but not stuffy.
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