Sofitel Sydney Wentworth celebrates French cusine with a new seasonal menu & chef who takes you from bone marrow to murray cod

Pressing a lift button to go ‘up’ to a garden seems counterintuitive but all becomes clear when you step out into a light filled room. So many times I have looked up from the street level walking past Chifley Tower and pondered what the circular roof garden at the Sofitel Sydney Wentworth was all about. I never really knew what was up there till now..

The circular outdoor garden is hugged by a semicircular restaurant giving everyone shrub side views. It’s an unique space and you feel that it could be incredible, as there is just so much untapped potential.  The decor is a bit, well, let’s say it could do with a makeover to match the sky high level of food, service and wine we experience on our visit.

This is the Garden Court Restaurant. We are here to try the new menu thanks to Executive Chef Boris Cuzon, and his new Executive Sous Chef Bektas Ozcan. Together they have worked across the world, but home now is French cuisine with Australian produce and some quirks!

Laura looks after us all night, she has been here a year. We start with a glass of Veuve. Laura returns with the bottle and pours the glass in front of us. She does this with each wine we order and automatically offers for us to taste the wine first. Swoon. How I love dining in hotels where the staff have been trained in a classic way. My glass of wine feels more decadent, more delicious and I can feel myself relaxing under the control and knowledge of someone who really loves their work and is caring for us all night.

The bread is heating in the oven and Laura returns like Little Red Riding Hood with a basket of warm French bread goodies “baguette, seed roll or wholemeal?” I could honestly take the entire basket but answer “all three please”. Butter and olive oil are already on the table, the butter is room temperature ready to spread. It’s the simple things but timed to perfection.

Our starters arrive. Saint-Jacques Scallops are sourced from Harvey Bay and lie on a tiny bed of squid ink cauliflower puree. The bottarga gives it a nice salty, sea kick. Given their miniature size we get two per shell. They are small but mighty in flavour. My dining partner, Mr G stops conversation over the bone marrow as he picks up a round of toasted baguette and runs it through the slow roasted marrow and mmmm’s in pleasure. It’s the best butter a man can eat. Meanwhile, I am loving the generous portion of Stracciatella cheese which is delicious paired with roasted peaches and pistachio salsa around the circumference. The balance is perfect. Two chargrilled prawns are thoughtfully deshelled and dressed with dill fronds and a Cafe de Paris sauce. It’s a sensational start.

We move onto a delicious Dog Point Sauvignon blanc which is difficult to come back from as it’s so good, though Laroche Petit Chablis gives it a run for its money. The crispy smoked duck breast is a complex beast. It has been age dried on salt, hot smoked, then the skin is crisped in the pan. It’s a long process to deliver a dish of this complexity. The potato fondant just adds to richness whilst beetroot and raspberries bring acidity. The ‘Poisson du Jour’ is the epitome of the restaurant. The dish says it all. It’s a king’s garden, bursting with colour, greens and goodness from the flamboyant radishes, half shell clams, baby carrots and zucchini it’s a delight of flavour and technique with a lemon beurre blanc sauce.

When you have had a busy week and seek somewhere that grown ups roam and silky smooth service in habits, Garden Court might not have been on your radar, but we left feeling so cared for with so much respect for the chefs, team and the sustainable sourcing of produce. It is cooked in a way which says everything a restaurant should stand for, but often misses the mark. The only thing which doesn’t quite match these heights is a room which could be so, so much more. We can’t wait for that designer to get cracking as this is a team which deserves to have a space which honours the standard of service and dining experience which we will long remember.

Garden Court Restaurant – 61-101 Phillip Street Sydney
Hours – Dinner is served Tuesdays to Saturdays from 6pm to 9pm,Breakfast buffet Monday to Friday from 6.30am to 10.30am, Saturday and Sunday from 7am to 11am

About the author

Karen’s corporate job back in the UK had included entertaining clients in some of the best restaurants. This ultimately sparked a curiosity 'Just how do they do that?' (she confesses she was brought up on meat and vegetables, so this was all very exciting). Currently a Mr & Mrs Smith 'Tastemaker', she’s flashpacked around the world, learning about wine, experiencing different cultures and cuisines and had a two- year love affair with it all. Originally from England, she finally settled in Australia and continues to be besotted by food, wine and travel preferring to focus on the luxury end of town (thread count does matter).


- Enter Your Location -
- or -