It’s been a bit quiet on the blog lately but I assure you all is well. Actually, it’s even better than well, because as of tomorrow, I will be free of uni assignments, theses and lectures! But I have developed quite a substantial backlog of photos and yet-to-be-written posts so expect to see more of these in the coming weeks.
We recently dined at the new O Bar and Dining, which is located in what used to be Summit Restaurant. O Bar and Dining retains the chef (Michael Moore), the stunning views over Sydney and the revolving restaurant, but has undergone a revamp to make it a little more hip and casual.
What makes it different from Summit in that it has a new lounge section which offers bar snacks and delicious cocktails for those who like their drinks with a view. As well as the traditional cocktail list, O Bar and Dining have Market Fresh cocktails which are made from seasonal fruits and so change very frequently. On the day we visited, we were treated to a rockmelon and mint daiquiri and a blood orange cocktail with yuzu – both of which were easy to drink (we liked them so much we ended up having another!)
The menu at O Bar and Dining is based on Michael Moore’s healthy eating philosophy and the recipes from his book, Blood Sugar. This isn’t immediately obvious to us as we munch on some assorted corn tacos from the bar menu, but when we peruse the main restaurant menu, we see that it’s full of healthy low GI grains, vegetables and quinoa.
The starter section of the menu has a range of choices, including dips and nibbles, salads and raw food dishes. The salmon tataki is served on a block of Himalayan pink salt and my first reaction is – “Where’s the salmon?” On closer inspection it’s definitely there, but as paper thin slices layered across the salt block. On top is a medley of pickled carrots, radish and cucumber, and a sprinkle of black and white sesame seeds completes the dish. Even though the salmon is served with some crostini on the side, I find that it is incredibly salty after sitting on the salt block and it definitely needs the pickled vegetables to help reduce the saltiness.
The spanner crab cakes are a popular choice at the table, and I can see why after tasting them. The cakes are crisp on the outside from a quinoa crust, and go perfectly with the tangy tahini and lemon yoghurt sauce underneath. Inside, there are visible chunks of crab which is always good to see. The crab cakes are also served with a small salad on the side.
I ordered the Campechana – partly because it was a fun word to say, and partly because of the promise of shellfish. It turned out to be a kind of Mexican seafood soup, with a clear tomato water being poured over the seafood and avocado at the table. This was an elegantly presented dish, with assorted crab meat, oysters, and prawns on the bottom, topped with cubed avocado and halved cherry tomatoes. It was a very refreshing and light dish to start with.
I stuck with the seafood theme as we moved onto the mains and selected the steamed snapper. Steaming is one of my favourite ways to eat fish, especially when the fish is steamed whole with soy, ginger and shallots. This dish turned out to be Asian-inspired with the snapper fillet being covered in a delicious mix of garlic, chilli, spring onions and coriander as well as a whole host of other herbs and spices. Mussels adorned the side of the dish, which had also been steamed to perfection.
The roasted lamb rump was super tender and still pink in the centre. It was sliced and layered onto a bed of olives, borlotti beans and celery.
The pasture fed beef rib was an impressive hunk of meat that was served with home ground mustard, roasted onion and a side salad. I tried a piece of the beef and it was juicy and tender with a fantastic flavour.
We were debating whether to have dessert and we settled on a few desserts to share. The ricotta cheesecake wasn’t exactly how I imagined it, and I’m not sure it was the most popular dessert on the table with the others either. The cheesecake was quite dense and studded with nuts or grains – I’m not entirely sure what it was. Although it was drizzled with some chocolate sauce, some crushed hazelnuts and raspberries, it just tasted a little too healthy for my liking. Up until that point I had completely forgotten that the food we were being served was healthy (compared to other restaurant food) so it was a bit of a reminder about Michael Moore’s food philosophy.
We had no trouble finishing off the hot chocolate souffle though, which came with scorched agave ice cream. Amazingly, the souffle actually tasted like hot chocolate or Milo, and was wonderfully light and airy all the way through.
To finish off, we had some chocolate tartlets and nut clusters to go with tea and coffee, which were little one-bite morsels. The chocolate tartlets were topped with whole fresh raspberries and had a secret hidden layer of salted peanut butter inside. The nut clusters were not quite what we expected but were rounds of an assortment of nuts and seeds which were bound together like a muesli bar, and dipped in bittersweet chocolate on one side.
The thing I loved most about eating at O Bar and Dining was that most of the time I wasn’t conscious of the fact that I was eating healthier food. Most of the dishes tasted just as good as the ones you would be served in a normal butter-laden restaurant, but the difference was I didn’t leave feeling heavy and bloated. The service was friendly and attentive, and it’s definitely a place that you can spend all night drinking and eating with friends, while soaking up the amazing 360º views of Sydney.
Penguin says Feed Me dined courtesy of O Bar and Dining and 6dc.
O Bar and Dining
Level 47 Australia Square
264 George Street
Sydney NSW 2000
Ph: +61 2 9247 9777
Lunch: Wednesday to Friday, from noon
Dinner: 7 days, from 5pm