When planning our whirlwind vacation to Australia, I realized that we would be in Sydney around the time of Foodbuzz’s March 24, 24, 24 (check out foodbuzz.com if you’re not familiar with it). The Husband and I thought that dining in Australia might be competitive for this competition so we searched for interesting and unique restaurants and menus to submit for our idea. We found that the Harbour Kitchen & Bar at the Park Hyatt at Sydney Harbour had a fantastic degustation menu with the option of Australian wine pairing. We submitted our idea, but unfortunately didn’t get selected. However, we had already made a reservation just in case and decided we couldn’t pass up the opportunity and took the Husband’s brother out for his birthday instead.
After enjoying the weekend markets at the Rocks on what was supposed to be our last day in Australia, the Husband and I headed to the hotel and got dressed up for the first time in weeks The Husband’s brother met us there and we walked the few blocks down to the water to the Park Hyatt. We entered the lobby and were shown the direction to the restaurant.
Harbour Kitchen’s menu offered a variety of options to choose from, but the three of us had our eyes and stomachs set on the Degustation Menu plus wine pairings. The waiter left our menu propped up on the table so we could refer to it if we forgot what we were tasting
While waiting for our wine and courses, we were brought individual rolls and butter. I enjoyed the view behind my roll
Although we were doing the wine pairings, we decided to start with a bottle of wine to enjoy throughout the meal. The Husband chose the 2006 Yering Station Chardonnay from Yarra Valley, Victoria. He knows how much I love chardonnays and since we didn’t get a chance to get to the wineries in Yarra Valley, this would be a substitute till we could get back. It was light yet flavorful and a perfect match throughout our meal.
Up first, we had the Lightly grilled tuna with green beans, olives, and crisp potato. The plate seemed to be dressed with a mayo (or something similar) and some oil and there was also an egg (quail?) and some greens garnishing the dish. The flavors melded well together and we enjoyed the different textures of the various ingredients. It was paired with the 2009 Charles Melton “Rose of Virginia,??? a Shiraz Grenache from Barossa Valley, South Australia. During our visit to Hunter Valley, I learned that I really like the Grenache grape, particularly in a Rose, and this one was no different. It went very well with this first course and we were looking forward to the other three.
The sommelier Nicolas Deradin was incredibly informative and friendly. With each course, he brought us out our matching wine and explained to us the different flavors of the wine as well as additional information regarding how they matched the food and the wineries themselves. We asked a handful of questions throughout the evening and he answered each one for us. I attempted to take some notes and share those here where I can.
The second course of the degustation menu was Toasted fregola cooked as risotto with Western Australian yabbies and puffed pork. (Typing that up, I realized that I have no idea what a yabbie is. According to a quick Google search, it’s an Australian fresh water crustacean. Fregola is a pasta similar to couscous.) This dish was much larger than a lot of tasting menu courses. It was savory and flavorful. We could taste the toasted flavor like a risotto (as described).
This dish was matched with the 2007 Stonier Reserve Chardonnay from Mornington Peninsula, Victoria (the one on the left). Since we were enjoying a bottle of chardonnay as well, it was a fun opportunity to try the two. Nicolas advised us that this wine is oaked with some French oak and some New oak. We could certainly taste the difference between the two chardonnays (the other one is unoaked).
A quick break here in the food and wine porn… the night of this meal, March 27th, was the celebration of Earth Hour. The restaurant was adorned with candlelight in anticipation of their participation in Earth Hour at 8:30pm. As the sun went down, my picture quality was limited with my photography skills. We enjoyed a couple photo though while it was still light enough in the restaurant Earth Hour did afford us a wonderful view of the Harbour and Opera House as the lights slowly dimmed to a nearly-imperceptible glow, adding further to the backdrop of our fantastic meal. As the lights were off, I didn’t get any pictures.
Our fourth and final course was the Vanilla creme brulee with rosemary sorbet and strawberries. This was my favorite creme brulee ever! The rosemary sorbet and strawberries went so well with it. It was a great final taste to this meal.
Our final wine pairing of the night was the 2009 Mr. Riggs “Sticky End??? Late Harvest Viognier from McLaren Vale, South Australia. Its name says it all. As a dessert wine, it was very sweet and sticky. If you like dessert wines, you would likely enjoy this one.
To end the meal, I had a pot of tea while the boys had long black coffees. We were also served chocolate truffles. Overall, this meal exceeded our expectations. We were very happy that we decided to go with both the degustation menu and the wine pairings. This restaurant can be quite expensive but is great for a special occasion. The atmosphere, service, food, and view are all wonderful. Although we were disappointed to not be selected for Foodbuzz’s March 24, 24, 24, we wouldn’t have found this restaurant without the research done for our proposal and we are glad for that.
(This is the last of our food and travel posts for our vacation to Australia. If you missed any posts, be sure to check our “Where We’ve Been??? tab above to check out other restaurants, hotels, and cities throughout eastern Australia!)