Step into Altitude Restaurant on Level 36 of the Shangri-la Sydney hotel and let your eyes adjust. Just like many restaurants of its kind, such as Le Jules Verne at the Eiffel Tower in Paris, the dimmed lighting is necessary to ensure maximum visibility of the vista below. Five metre high floor-to-ceiling windows offer panoramic views of the city spanning from the Sydney Harbour Bridge to the Sydney Opera House and beyond. The surrounding glass windows ensure you have a view no matter where you sit.
Intimate table by the window
Altitude seats 110 persons and has a private dining room separate from the restaurant which seats 18 persons. Double glazed for more privacy, the room sits at a vantage point with almost unobstructed and sometimes dizzying views. Chef Steven Krasicki, ex Restaurant Balzac and Banc, has created a contemporary menu with an emphasis on using local and sustainable produce that changes with the seasons. The menu changes monthly and you’ll find a seven-course degustation menu as well as an a la carte selection with a separate vegetarian option.
The bread is from Sonoma Bakery and the amuse bouche of hazelnuts, asparagus tips, truffle oil with a potato velouté poured over it pleases the palate. Porcini powder dots the plate and adds an earthy aroma to the creamy, smooth and fragrant dish.
Scallops and yabbies tortellini
An entrée of scallops and yabbies tortellini with grilled cauliflower, forest mushrooms and porcini jus ($28) is an elegant dish with seafood elements that sing the delicate flavours of the sea. The silky pasta is made fresh daily and is wonton-like, light and thin, almost melting in the mouth. The creamy cauliflower sauce works well but the chopped hazelnuts and thinly fried onions dominate what is otherwise a delightful dish. The fresh, crisp with citrus notes of the 2009 Trebbiano di Soave Massi Fitti fron Veneto, Italy pairs well with the dish.
Rare roast Cervena venison
The rare roast Cervena venison ($29) has tender pieces of venison with carrots, crushed Jerusalem artichokes and hibiscus jus. The venison is perfectly cooked and the gamy flavour pairs well with wine, a 2011 Teusner Joshua Grenache Matero Shiraz from the Barossa Valley in South Australia.
Molong suckling pig
Order the Molong suckling pig ($42) and you’re in for a treat. The pig is roast whole and three different parts are served, the roast belly, rack and loin and braised shoulder. Each component stands out on its own and the perfectly crisp and seasoned crackling makes it a faultless dish. The pig is served on potato mash with asparagus, trussed tomatoes and crushed peas. The dish is paired with 2011 Paringa Estate Peninsula Pinot Noir from the Mornington Peninsula in Victoria.
If you order the grilled swordfish ($39), much like meat, you are asked how you would like your fish cooked. Medium yields a very juicy piece of swordfish with a lighter texture and more flavour than the usual dense texture of the fish. Steamed diamond shell clams, sweet corn, capers and a creamless foam made from corn accompany the dish. The citrus notes of the 2011 Phillip Shaw No. 11 Chardonnay from Orange in NSW pair well with the dish.
Dill and butter poached kipfler potatoes ($10)
Blood orange jelly with zabaglione and Pernod star anise
A pre-dessert of blood orange jelly with zabaglione and Pernod star anise is summery and fresh. The citrus freshens the palate and the spice has a mild digestive effect. Simply delicious.
The strawberry “Bombe” ($18) is a playful salad of papaya, orange, passion fruit and strawberries with a meringue and ice cream enjoyed with a sweet wine, 2008 Domaine Rotier Rennaissance from Gaillac in France.
If dessert is not your choice, Altitude has an impressive cheese selection not to be overlooked. Select one, three or five cheeses ($26) from the cheese menu. The cheese flight shown above has Ubriaco di Capra al Traminer (Veneto, Italy), Old Telegraph Road Baw Baw Blue (Gippsland, Australia), Lincet Brillat Savarin (Champagne, France), Fromager des Clarines (Franche Comte, France) and Bleu des Basques (Midi-Pyrénées, France). The white cheeses are soft and ripe and the blue cheese coupled with honeycomb from Queensland is a taste sensation. Sliced pear and grapes dusted with sugar accompany the selection.
Petits fours such as the peach jelly, strawberry and dark chocolate truffle are always met with a smile even when you can’t fit another mouthful in. Altitude offers a dining experience to be remembered and makes it a great choice to celebrate a special occasion or treat yourself whether you’re a visitor to Sydney, a local resident or a guest at the hotel. The views mesmerise you all night, the food delights the palate and the service leaves you well looked after without being intrusive on special moments. And when you’re ready to leave but can’t tear yourself away from the view, there’s always the option of a night cap at Blu Bar on 36.
Shangri-La Hotel Sydney
176 Cumberland St
The Rocks Sydney Australia
T: (61 2) 9250 6000 http://www.shangri-la.com/sydney/shangrila More in the Shangri-la Sydney series:
Gourmantic were invited guests of the Shangri-la Sydney and dined at Altitude Restaurant as guests of the hotel. Opinions, as always, are our own.
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