I love business lunches. I also love it when my colleagues don't care when I whip out a camera and act like a complete tourist in one of Sydney's chicest restaurant. Glass Brasserie, helmed by chef Luke Mangan (former chef of Salt and the chef flown over to Copenhagen by Prince Frederick and Princess Mary to cook a 5 course banquet for royalty and owner of one chef's hat in 2007's SMH Good Food Guide) on Level 2 of the Sydney Hilton, is all shiny sleek glass and shades of gold. There is a large section of banquettes in the centre (I adore banquette seating) as well as tables facing the Queen Victoria Building. The Immoral One (a name he was given in a meeting today-well we do work in Advertising so it's not entirely unexpected...) is taking M and I out for lunch today. 3 courses, if we have the time.
The only drawback to a work lunch is that you are often pressed for time. And today The Immoral One and I need to be in a meeting at 2.30pm so we need to leave by 2pm. It's 12.30pm and we're ordering our entrees and mains from the enormous menu. The thing that has caught my eye is one of the specials, the W.A. Rock Lobster in a Malay style curry sauce with tomato and banana sides (Market price: today $60 entree size, main size $115). M and I both order this and The Immoral One orders the Petuna Ocean Trout with ginger eschallot, persian feta and rocket ($26.50). For my main I order the Rangers Valley 450day grain fed Wagyu entrecôte, score 7-8, 250g, garlic mushrooms, caper and bone marrow ($59). The Immoral One orders the John Dee Steer 150 day grain fed sirloin 250g with herb and mustard crust and baby beans ($40) and M orders the Petuna Ocean Trout fillet roasted, harissa crushed kipflers, mussels, tomato and curry vinaigrette ($39).
Our bread arrives, a white crusty loaf as well as a salt crusted herb bread with raisins which goes particularly well with the olive oil. I could eat much more but since I know what is coming, I refrain.
W.A. Rock Lobster in a Malay style curry sauce with tomato and banana sides (Market price: today $60 entree size)
As we're in a hurry, the kitchen serves our food quickly. Our entrees arrive and the Western Australian Rock Lobster is housed in a tagine pot alongside a trio of condiments. The waitress plates the rice first and then serves the lobster from the tagine which reminds me of a seafood dish I'd had at Luke Mangan's Salt restaurant where they had presented two lone prawns on a large plate and then spooned the rest of the dish on top of it after noting the patrons shocked expression of being given 2 prawns (drama works, I still remember my reaction to this day). The sauce is fragrant with coriander seeds, kaffir lime leaves, galangal and tumeric. There's also smoked paprika, lemongrass and a small amount of chili which gives the Malay style curry heat but never overpowers it. The sauce is particularly delicious and gorgeous when mixed with the cinnamon spiced fragrant rice.
I admit the appeal of the banana condiment eludes me, I don't particularly go for the coconut banana accompaniments with Indian cooking so I leave this after a brief taste. The tomato, with coriander and Vietnamese mint is refreshing but I need to save stomach space so I leave this behind.
Petuna Ocean Trout with ginger eschallot, persian feta and rocket ($26.50)
I try some of The Immoral One's Petuna Ocean Trout with ginger eschallot, persian feta and rocket and it is pure pleasure. There is a sweetness to the paper thin ocean trout and it is simply exquisite perfection.
Rangers Valley 450day grain fed Wagyu entrecôte, score 7-8, 250g, garlic mushrooms, caper and bone marrow ($59)
Our plates are whisked away and replaced soon after with the mains. My Rangers Valley 450day grain fed Wagyu entrecôte, with a marbling score 7-8 (out of a potential 12 being the most marbled) 250g, garlic mushrooms, capers and bone marrow sits on a long rectangular plate and I bite into the meat and it melts in the mouth softly. The borderlaise sauce is laced with tarragon and is a perfect foil for the tender cut of meat.
The discs of bone marrow sitting on top are soft and unctuous and also melt on the tongue and the perfect squares of garlic mushrooms and capers are a perfect pairing for the meat. I am in heaven and I eat almost every bite, despite being rather full and knowing that dessert is on the way. That's when you know it's good, when you simply cannot stop.
Petuna Ocean Trout fillet roasted, harissa crushed kipflers, mussels, tomato and curry vinaigrette ($39)
I try some of M's Petuna roasted Ocean Trout fillet and it is deliciously crisped on top with the inside still raw, just the way it was meant to be. If only I could order this main too!
John Dee Steer 150 day grain fed sirloin 250g with herb and mustard crust and baby beans ($40)
I also try The Immoral One's John Dee Steer 150 day grain fed sirloin 250g with herb and mustard crust and baby beans. It's not bad but the herb crust has thyme in it which is a herb I am not particularly fond of. And if I am to be honest, any meat after the Wagyu is going to come off second best.
The side of mash is lovely and creamy and soft. There's much mming and approval from M about the creamy potato puree.
We ask the waiter whether we have time for dessert as it's 25 minutes to 2pm and he checks with the kitchen. They can do dessert but the ones that we've earmarked (Rhubarb crumble tart with banana parfait and the Blood Orange souffle and cardamom ice cream) will take too long so I settle for the selection of ice creams (brownie, honeycomb and pistachio as I adore pistachio ice cream, $16.50) and M and The Immoral One order the Maple Syrup and Mascarpone baked cheesecake, poached quince, coconut crumble and quince ice cream ($18).
Selection of ice creams brownie, honeycomb and pistachio $16.50
The pistachio ice cream is heaven. I've tried pistachio ice cream all over Sydney and never been happy with the level of Pistachio in any of them ever since I traveled to Paris a few years ago and had a Berthillon Pistache Ice cream. The honeycomb ice cream is good, very true to flavour but the Brownie is a bit of a miss for me perhaps because of a combination of the lesser comparison to the Pistachio and the fact that I am very full.
Maple Syrup and Mascarpone baked cheesecake, poached quince, coconut crumble and quince ice cream ($18)
I try some of The Immoral One's Maple Syrup and Mascarpone baked cheesecake and it is delicious with the cleverly designed crunchy coconut crumb outer. The poached quince is not to my taste, it's not very sweet but the cheesecake has given me a serious case of dessert envy and wished I'd ordered this. Of course I couldn't have as it just wouldn't do to have everyone order the same thing, after all, a blog is best with variety. The sacrifices I make for you dear reader...OK I'm not being serious, there was no sacrifice made here at all today, just pleasure :)
Hilton Hotel Sydney
Level 2, 488 George Street, Sydney
Tel: +61 (02) 9265 6068
Lunch: Monday to Friday 12-3pm
Dinner: 7 nights, 6-9.30/until late