Old World Charm: Inside Sydney's Newest Gem, Pont Dining Room

Pont Dining Room, Sydney

Pont Dining Room is the new restaurant at the InterContinental hotel in Sydney. It was the perfect place for a birthday celebration with my friends Miss America and Queen Viv as they love old world hotels, quiet ambience and a Modern Australian menu. Find out what this restaurant is like and what you can't go past (and which course you can skip for now!).

Pont Dining Room, Sydney

"You won't believe where we went, we drove to Vaucluse!" exclaimed Queen Viv, my directionally challenged friend who along with Miss America had been all around Sydney when driving from the inner west to the city. It was Saturday night and the rain fell in buckets' worth all across Sydney. Mr NQN and I met them at Pont Dining Room, at the InterContinental hotel in Sydney. The former treasury building turned hotel recently opened Pont (which means Bridge in French) in the restaurant space on the Bridge street side.

Pont Dining Room, Sydney

The Chef de Cuisine here is Kanishka Amunugama, formerly of Mount Lofty House. The restaurant is a long, rectangular room with a whisky bar at one end as well as banquettes and a deep, semi circular booth. Silvery gingko leaf lights hang from the ceiling. Further up a small set of stairs is a private dining room that can be blocked off with thick curtains. Service strikes a perfect balance between being friendly but still deferential. Queen Viv, as her name suggests, often takes issue with the casual nature of some waitstaff (Miss America is more easy going and doesn't like to make a fuss) but our waitress has won her over completely.

Pont Dining Room, Sydney
Sober-Walk $23 and Breeze Spritz $28

I covet Mr NQN's Breeze Spritz with Tried & True Vodka, Strawberry, Basil, Lemon Myrtle and Rhubi Mistelle. My choice is a non alcoholic drink called a Sober-Walk with kiwi, mint, sage, eucalyptus and Lyre’s Agave which is fine but a bit unusual. Queen Viv and Miss America order champagne. One thing that we did notice was that the filtered sparkling water did seem quite expensive costing $26.70 in total for 3 bottles but it is filtered and carbonated in-house and not an externally bought product. Most places that filter their own charge around $5 per head nowadays.

Pont Dining Room, Sydney
Kimchi fermented potato fries, Gruyère sauce $20

I always ask for my fries to come out hot, like "burn my fingers hot" because life is too short for lukewarm fries. Usually that means the staff bringing them out as soon as they are made rather than waiting for the rest of the dishes to be ready. When these come out they're warm but not hot. Our waitress inquires about the temperature of the fries and when she finds out they're not hot she offers to bring out actually hot ones. When she sets down the fresh bowl they are markedly better. I'd consider these fries a must order because the combination of kimchi and gruyere sauce is perfectly creamy and spicy on the crispy, hot fries. We make fast work of this and I even consider ordering another they're so moreishly good.

Pont Dining Room, Sydney
Sourdough crumpets, white anchovies chutney, whipped goats cheese lemon thyme $12 (2pcs)

I love this recent trend of crumpets and these tiny sourdough crumpets come two to a serve with a white anchovy chutney, whipped goats cheese and lemon thyme. This is a very savoury and umami dish and you do have to like fish forward flavours for this. I think a sweet element might do well on the crumpet too.

Pont Dining Room, Sydney
Beef tartare, enoki mushroom, ponzu, green harissa, nori cracker $26

We all gravitate towards the entrees as they're always more appealing to us and tonight we decide to order 6 entrees and 2 mains. The beef tartare is paired with enoki mushrooms, ponzu, green harissa and a nori cracker. This version of the beef tartare while not traditional still echoes the flavours of a steak tartare and if anything is even more appealing. Half-French Queen Viv loves this version.

Pont Dining Room, Sydney
Blue fin tuna, fried capers, fine herbs, finger lime, bonito mayonnaise $28

The blue fin tuna is thinly sliced like a carpaccio and paired with fried capers, herbs, pops of finger lime, caviar and a delicious bonito mayonnaise. To me, it is like a distant cousin of vitello tonnato made with tuna rather than veal and we all very much like the freshness and flavours of this entrée.

Pont Dining Room, Sydney
Hiramasa crudo, buttermilk, beetroot vinegar, smoked salmon roe $26

The hiramasa kingfish is a beautiful dish and gorgeously presented. It's pieces of raw kingfish sitting in a buttermilk sauce with beetroot vinegar and salmon roe. Whilst I loved the presentation I wasn't quite as taken with the strong kingfish flavour.

Pont Dining Room, Sydney
Bangalow sweet pork, chorizo jam, vegemite butter $26

The last entree to arrive is the Bangalow sweet pork served as a slice of unctuous pork belly with chorizo jam and a Vegemite butter sauce. The pork is so soft that it's easy to divide it in four with a fork and spoon and it absolutely melts in the mouth. The chorizo jam is a clever idea and gives the pork a spiciness and intensity while the Vegemite butter is creative and creates a nice pool of sauce for the soft, jellied layers of meat.

Pont Dining Room, Sydney
Chargrilled spatchcock, fermented chilli butter, flamed shishito peppers $48

We ordered two mains and the first one is my favourite. It's a char grilled spatchcock with fermented chilli butter and corn. The spatchcock is perfectly cooked so that it is deliciously juicy still but very much cooked through; even the white meat is very tender and the fermented chilli butter reminds me of Peri Peri chicken.

Pont Dining Room, Sydney
Black onyx brisket & tenderloin, compressed pear, beef fat hash $60

While Mr NQN and I love the chicken, Miss America and Queen Viv prefer the steak. It comes as two cuts, the slow cooked brisket and tenderloin with fine shavings of compressed pear, caramelised onion and a crunchy beef fat hash (tip: order an extra one of these from the side menu, you won't regret it). I prefer softer slow cooked cuts to steak but that's just me as I love a good sauce. The steak is also very good and both are perfect when combined with the texture from the crispy hash brown.

Pont Dining Room, Sydney

Polenta limoncello, Tasmanian leatherwood honey, rosemary pistachio ice cream $18

While we absolutely loved the savoury food and the service, the only part of the meal I didn't really go for were the desserts. The polenta limoncello cake is paired with Tasmanian leatherwood honey and a rosemary pistachio ice cream. I wasn't a huge fan of the flavours in this although Miss America loved this dessert.

Pont Dining Room, Sydney
Hunted + Gathered chocolate mousse, brown butter crumb, raspberry crisp $20

Out of the two desserts the chocolate mousse would be my pick. It's chocolate mousse topped with a brown butter crumb and a toffee crisp with dried raspberries that is a bit sticky on the teeth. There are more crumbs than mousse on this though so if you were hoping for a traditional chocolate mousse you might be a touch disappointed. Our lovely waitress explains that the desserts are actually going through a reworking. I think I'd just order another bowl of the chips or an extra potato hash.

So tell me Dear Reader, are you more like Queen Viv and take exception to casual service or like Miss America and don't like to make a fuss?

I was given a partial credit for this meal but paid the balance ourselves. All opinions remain my own.

Pont Dining Room

InterContinental Sydney

12/117 Macquarie St, Sydney NSW 2000

Tuesday to Saturday 5:30–10 pm

Closed Sunday and Monday

Phone: (02) 9240 1325


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