If you are a Sydney-sider chances are that hotel dining is a bit like a first date; you have done your homework, vital statistics look good, you may have done a little bit of online stalking (Nup. A LOT) . So there you are, full of anticipation and hope, then boom…crash, tackle and the eveing has bombed.
So its a great surprise (yeah, really!) to see how Q Dining has transformed from its former self twelve months ago. Let’s face it, the bone structure was there, floor to ceiling windows onto Circular Quay and the Harbour Bridge. We love those sparkly jewel sphere chandelliers that look like airbourne fireworks and the turqoise blue fit out that make us feel like we are dining at Tiffanys.
Executive Chef, Steven Hartert, is at it again with native ingredient-driven dishes where land meets sea. We kick off with a free range chicken liver pate which arrives in a cute glass pot topped with rhubarb jelly and crustini’s on the side. We progress to ‘Small Plates’ with a standout, the burrata. We’ve all had a gazillion burratas in our life, but this one is so beautiful. Layers of seasoned heirloom tomatoes are entwined with herby greens, voilet flowers, seseame seeds and an edible soil of dried olives – its a riot of red, white, green, purple and black. Next, slices of beetroot cured Tasmanian salmon is balanced with a lemon mustard dressing.
We attack the ‘Large Plate’ section accompanied by a 2018 L’Exuberance Rose from Provence, France – its perfect with Linguine Pasta. Oh la la, big generous chunks of Queensland spanner crab meat, roasted red pepper are a swirling taste senstation added with tomato, chili and fresh basil. The star of the night is the chicken done two ways – what a cracker. Think Peking Duck ie; you get your duck pancakes and then another dish arrives (either san choy bow or noodles). Steven has taken this concept to a new level and give us two completely different and irresitable dishes for $32! First you have a bed of ragout sweetcorn topped with a free range chicken breast dotted with textural woodear mushrooms and chick peas. Then a little copper pot arrives with a divine creamy coconut curry of of chicken leg packed with aromatics and life afirming tumeric. This is our hero dish. Its a double date and we love it. Plus, we need to encourage you to eat your carrots. Seriously these are the ‘bomb’- slow cooked with maple syrup. These orange and purple carrot wonders are whipped into a ricotta party with delicate dill fronds.
Deserts await. Strawberry cream is a crowd pleaser, caramalised white chocolate parfait layered with strawberry compote is as pretty as a picture, and completely smashable. We are done.
Its great to be surprised, to have your misconceptions stripped away and leave an experience with a new found confidence in trying something new. So put yourself out there. First dates are not always good, but when they work – boy! we are coming back for more!
Pullman Quay Grand Sydney Harbour, 61 Macquarie Street, Sydney
Hours: Lunch; Monday CLOSED, Tuesday – Sunday 12pm – 2:30pm (last seating), Dinner: Monday – Saturday 5:30pm – 9:30pm (last seating), Sunday CLOSED