Official working dinner @ the Summit

May 3, 2010 at 11:03 am Leave a comment

Wow – it’s been a whirlwind week.   I’ve been notably quiet.  And feeling very slack about it really.  I’ve got loads to catch you up on (ricotta pancakes, dinner @ Gambaro’s in Brisbane, this last weekend in Melbourne with loads of good eating, drinking, laughing and shopping moments and more with great company, and lunch with BF today at The Cove), but for the momentI think it’s important you hear about the room with a view from where we had dinner last Saturday night.  Well – it was a big room – it was the Summit Restaurant, on the 47th floor of Australia Square (Sydney) with Nanna G, Pa, Mr L et moi.  And the occasion was an official business dinner.

The official dinner

Nanna G, Pa, Mr L and I are starting a new business venture.  We decided it was only natural that we should have a kick off dinner – we had things to discuss and I took charge of organising the venue.  It was to be a bit of a surprise for Nanna G and Pa – they were told to meet Mr L and me on the corner of George and Bond Streets at 7pm.  Mr L was quite sure that they would know precisely where we were headed and that the game was up…

We arrive early and upon phoning, find that Nanna G and Pa are at the pub down the road having a cheeky beverage since the bus from home had only taken 15 minutes and they had time to kill.  They finish up and stride towards us looking suitably dapper in their fine dining attire.

Confessions and cocktails

We fess up – we’re headed to the Summit.  Much to Mr L’s surprise, our game, in fact, was not up.  Nanna G and Pa didn’t have an inkling that we were to dine there.  Somewhat excited, we make our way towards the building at 264 George Street.  Nanna G grins and we’re all excited.

The Summit Restaurant (pic from www.summitrestaurant.com.au)

The Summit Restaurant (pic from http://www.summitrestaurant.com.au)

Our ears pop a few times as the lift swiftly ascends to the 47th floor.  When we step out, we’re struck by a most spectacular view of Sydney.  We discuss that yes, this is indeed a revolving restaurant – a tacky concept perhaps, but with obvious benefits – the spectacular view we see will be available to us in 360 degree splendour!

We’re led through to the Orbit Lounge for a drink before our 7:30 dinner booking.  Our travels take us past a long trail of Grey Goose vodka bottles, lined up along a marbled bar.  The low, coloured lighting gives the bar an opulent feel and the bar is decked out with funky furniture.  It’s had a refurbishment since the last time Pa visited.

Long line of Grey Goose vodka along the bar

Long line of Grey Goose vodka along the bar

We peruse the drinks menu.  The boys decide upon something special to start.  It’s fitting that Pa has a martini with olives – for he’s looking very James Bond in his black tie attire.  When I ask how he’s to have it – he replies “Shaken, of course!”  He chooses to have olives in his martini.  When it arrives, we agree it is mostly made up of gin – it makes me shiver, but he enjoys it (though doesn’t need a second!)

Pa's martini - shaken, not stirred

Pa's martini - shaken, not stirred

Mr L chooses a cocktail called “The Spanish Fly” – the description reads as follows:

“we will take you on an adventure with this incredibly sexual cocktail, combining the exotic tastes of both yellow & green chartreuse with an astonishing vanilla liqueur & the light, tangy notes of fresh passionfruit. sit back, relax & enjoy this truly unique experience”

Mr L sits back, relaxes (he’s generally pretty relaxed anyway!) and commences his enjoyment of said experience.  We don’t know that it’s an “incredibly sexual” one, but the drink it enjoyable nonetheless!

Mr L's Spanish Fly

Mr L's Spanish Fly

Nanna G is in the mood for red, and we choose a bottle of the Te Mata ‘Woodthorpe’ Shiraz.  Nanna G seems to enjoy it and we go on to order another bottle of it later in the night when the first (shared by three) disappears.

I’m not drinking on this night since my skin needs a break.  I choose a drink from “The Virgins” part of the drinks menu – all mocktails.  Mine is the Citron Fizz – which is really quite fantastic.  It’s tangy and sharp in taste.  We all try it and like it.

Mocktail in front and Cocktail at back

The mocktail

The boys order another cocktail – a Caipirinha – the national cocktail of Brazil, which appears to be easier to drink than it is to pronounce.  The menu calls it “a refreshing blend of cacacha & fresh lime, smashed & shaken together over ice.”

Dinner – with great company

Pardon the pun, but the best bit about our working dinner is the great company.  We have a lovely time in the Orbit Bar and then move through to the Summit Restaurant.  There’s a lot of work talk, but we also spend some time admiring the view and catching up.

During dinner, fireworks burst over Darling Harbour and we try to capture them for your viewing pleasure.  Unfortunately my camera really isn’t equipped appropriately, but I’ve included one of the pics below to give you an idea.

Fireworks from the Summit

Fireworks from the Summit

The entrees – a mixed bag

You may have noticed that I’m generally easy to please, but my overall feeling with the food at the Summit is that it should have been better.  I had been there for a work dinner a couple of years before and loved it.  It seems to have changed hands since my last visit, and I was looking forward to sampling chef, Michael Moore’s food.  While some of it was good, overall it was disappointing – and the service let the view down.  I don’t want to trash it too much, but a brief review follows.

Things start off well.  Warm bread rolls are delivered.  We run out of butter though and Pa asks for more.  Our waiter promises to bring us some, but never does.

Bread - no butter

Bread - no butter

We decide we’ll have entrees.  Nanna G chooses “the Red Salad with Cheese” and rather enjoys it.  It’s made of slow roasted beet roots & jam, candied shallots, calvados & apple jelly, baby chard, herbed & ashed goats cheese, botryitis dressing.  It looks good and I enjoy the bit that Nanna G graciously gives up for me!

A red salad with cheese

A red salad with cheese

Pa orders the thirlmere duck “hot pot” which sounds terrific: poached in fragrant broth, leatherwood honey roasted, clear vanilla tea, vanilla smoked hervey bay scallops, salted duck cake.  It comes out looking curious.  There is clear bowl over which sits a clear, cylindrical container – like a glass without the bottom.  Insider the container lives three little crumbed numbers that look like noisettes.  We wonder what’s going on here.  Then the waiter pours the fragrant broth down into the clear container before whisking the container away.  The ingredients noisette numbers (were they the duck?) swim out into the broth, leaving it looking interesting.  Pa likes it, but doesn’t love it.

thirlmere duck “hot pot”

thirlmere duck “hot pot”

Mr L orders a terrific sounding dish – lobster & yamba prawn “naked ravioli” mariscos.  The entree describes it as lobster, balmain bug, prawn, claypot tomato estofade, calamari, lemon, parsley.  A great sounding idea, but in fact it’s lacklustre.  There’s not much flavour in this dish that sounded so promising.

lobster & yamba prawn “naked ravioli” mariscos

lobster & yamba prawn “naked ravioli” mariscos

I choose the oysters as I’ve not had them either of the advertised ways before.  I choose three steamed in spring onion and semillon which are tremendously tasty.  The other three are grilled with classic herb butter with a sourdough “crust” which don’t appeal to me very much – the sourdough crust is a bit like soggy bread.

Three of each - oysters @ the Summit Restaurant

Three of each - oysters @ the Summit Restaurant

Mains – two for two

Seems Nanna G and I are on the same wavelength.  And Mr L and Pa are together on one too.  The girls choose lamb and the boys choose pork – specifically:

riverina spring lamb “two ways”
pepper roasted  rack, pressed slow cooked shoulder, white onion soubise, cranberry apple jelly,  pistachio nut & herb crumble

and

twice cooked pork belly (signature dish)
glass crackling, crab, radish & apple salad, vanilla apple marmalade, balsamic toffee

Again – so much promise for both, but each dish is a let down.  The lamb is okay, but not great.  In fact, mine wasn’t very warm at all.  Again, there isn’t much flavour to it despite the fact it looks great on the plate.

riverina spring lamb “two ways” - a good looker without much personality

riverina spring lamb “two ways” - a good looker without much personality

The pork belly is weird.  The crackling is separated from the belly using a white sauce – we can’t work out what it is.  Perhaps it’s the crab mentioned in the description?  This is the restaurant’s signature dish.  Again – good intentions, but they just don’t work.  The radish and apple salad doesn’t appeal to either Pa nor Mr L.  What a shame.

twice cooked pork belly (signature dish)

twice cooked pork belly (signature dish)

We also order a number of sides – green beans french shallots & herb butter; handcut fried potatoes, pink river salt, and roasted field mushrooms, garlic aioli.  The potatoes are best, though the beans and mushrooms are both pretty good.

Service and finishing touches

We decide we were too full to have dessert, but Mr L orders a cognac and Nanna G needs another glass of wine.  Sadly, the $25 glass of cognac appears smaller than a nip, and Nanna G’s wine never appears at all.  A woman is not a camel you know!

Fortunately, they don’t charge us for the red.

Our feeling on the service is that too few waiters are servicing too large a number of diners.  I can’t help wondering if perhaps the waiter got lost en route to deliver our butter and Nanna G’s red – for the restaurant is revolving after all!

The final item to arrive is a plate of complementary lemon macarons.  They’re quite delicious and go well with my English Breakfast tea.  However, I’ve only chosen it since the Summit Restaurant is unable to service my request for a cup of green tea though – who doesn’t stock that?

Soft lemon macarons

Soft lemon macarons

The verdict

The view at the Summit Restaurant is spectacular, the drinks are great, and some entrees flavoursome, but the service and most of the dishes tried on this visit let the place down.  I love the macarons and would have them again, but am unlikely to rush back to the restaurant in a hurry.  The Orbit Lounge though, I’d recommend for a quiet cocktail before moving on to dine elsewhere.

The low down

Michael Moore’s Summit Restaurant is located at: Level 47, 264 George Street (Australia Square) Sydney.

Restaurant operating hours are:
Lunch Monday to Friday 12pm-3pm
Dinner Monday – Sunday from 6pm

Orbit Lounge operating hours are:
From 10am until late Monday to Friday
5pm until late Saturday and Sunday

For more info, visit www.summitrestaurant.com.au

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Entry filed under: australia, Dinner, Expenso, sydney. Tags: , , , .

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