O Bar & Dining is a revolving restaurant and bar perched high on Level 47 of Australia Square. But there’s a lot more to this iconic venue than the spectacular 360 degree views with Sydney at your feet.
View from O Bar & Dining, Sydney CBD
Long gone the days when it was called The Summit and attracted a tourist clientele. On a weeknight, the vibe at the restaurant is sophisticated, romantic and relaxed with a mix of couples and small groups of all ages.
Owner Michael Moore and Executive Chef Darren Templeman (ex Restaurant Atelier), bring an unforgettable dining experience with flavour combinations that cross continents and work together in harmony.
You may catch a glimpse of the bar as the floor orbits this hub of shaking, stirring and mixing has top shelf spirits that are worth a look. One look at the back bar will tell you that this is not a bar catering solely for tourists but one that attracts cocktail and spirit aficionados.
Warm Roasted Olives
You can enjoy cocktails at your table ($18 to $20) as you nibble on Warm Roasted Olives & Scorched Orange Zest and Rosemary ($12) and study the drinks menu or simply leave the choice in the hands of the bartenders who will cater to your taste.
The Spritzer is an ideal start as you get accustomed to the revolving views. It’s a take on the Aperol Spritz with Cognac, Maraschino, rosé wine, fresh orange juice and soda resulting in a light, fresh and easy sipping drink with a good balance of sweetness and bitterness.
Next is The Kingsford, an Australian take on the classic Aviation cocktail made with local ingredients: Four Pillars Barrel Aged Gin, lemon myrtle, lemon verbena, fresh lime and chocolate bitters. The drink is in synergy with the modern Australian theme. On the palate, it has a good balance of fruit and citrus along with the gentle oak and sweet spice from the gin and ends with lingering flavour of chocolate which intensifies as you sip it.
The Kingsford comes with a commemorative stamp of the 50th anniversary of the first official air mail between Australia and the UK and is a delicious winter drink that would also suit a dessert-style cocktail.
Pisco & Ardbeg
Mention Ardbeg and Pisco and you might expect a strong cocktail yet this yet unnamed drink somehow manages to keep it light. The cocktail has Ardbeg 10 yo, Santiago Queirolo Plum Pisco and rhubarb bitters with hand-chipped ice and it simply delivers a perfect mix of peat and fruit. If you enjoy peated whiskies or mezcal, this drink ticks all the right boxes.
The Three Musketeers takes its name from the ingredients that make up the drink and is yet to be featured on the menu. A trio of Amaro Averna, Martini Sweet Vermouth and Quinquina come together in an absinthe-rinsed glass with a flamed orange peel. The drink starts with a little herbal bitterness from the Averna, leads onto sweetness with orange notes and finishes with fine tannins. This is quite a sipper and a perfect choice way to end a meal.
The food menu at O Bar and Dining is extensive, offering a solid choice of entrees that span raw food such as oysters, fish and meats. The mains section is equally impressive with dishes catering to vegetarians as well as a good choice of fish, poultry, meats and grilled steaks with roasts for two people to share.
Burrata di Bufala
Start with the Burrata di Bufala ($29), silky smooth, creamy and light, oozing with a liquid centre. Mediterranean flavours play well together with cashew pesto, dehydrated olives, dried salted duck egg and crisp chicken skin that adds a naughty start to an otherwise healthy dish.
Sashimi of Pink Snapper
Next is the Sashimi of Pink Snapper ($32), fresh and and light served with scorched avocado, finger limes and crisp tapioca. Vibrant flavours and textures are complemented by the silky avocado that has a good measure of smoke.
The Wagyu Tartare ($35) makes you question which came first the dish or the plate. Served san choy bau style, the dish is Korean-influenced and makes use of red pepper paste, chilli spices, avocado, a scattering of peanuts along with mint and shaved radish. Pick it up by hand and enjoy the freshness of the meat along with the creaminess of the avocado and the crispy crackling. It is the right measure of heat that makes the dish.
The dish pairs well with 2012 Freycinet Riesling, crisp and dry with citrus notes and some minerality.
The Patagonian Toothfish ($42) is brings the essence of Provence with summer tomatoes, smoked white anchovy, shaved fennel, aniseed and capers with dried olives on top. The fish is perfectly cooked, crisp-skinned, moist and flaky flesh. In short, the dish has exquisite balance of provencal flavours.
The toothfish is paired with 2014 Milton 100% Chenin Blanc, a sweeter style of wine with hints of pears. It starts a little sweet then turns acidic with a savoury finish.
Slow-braised Venison and Beef Cheeks
The scent of chocolate is the first thing you notice when the next dish is presented. Autumn meets winter in the Slow-braised Venison and Beef Cheeks with foraged mushrooms from State Forest, parsnip puree and Zokoko Trinidad chocolate. The venison is simply delicious with the rich chocolate sauce reduction, tender, gamey and served pink. The beef cheek flavour intensifies with the chocolate along with the meaty mushrooms while the baby onions add a touch of sweetness. This is the favourite dish of the night and one that we hope becomes part of the regular menu.
The dish is paired with 2011 Two Cells Shiraz, a smooth and bold red wine with ripe red fruit and tannins.
Hot Plum Souffle
For dessert, you can’t go past the temptation of the Hot Plum Souffle ($20) served with crème fraiche ice cream, dehydrated raspberries and rich Zokoko chocolate. The souffle is light as air with a hint of tang from the fruit and the 80% cocoa chocolate is simply one to drink or eat with a spoon.
Activated Hazelnut Gelato
For a richer style of dessert, the Activated Hazelnut Gelato ($18) comes with a praline sponge, tonka beans, raw cocoa soil.
Finish with petits fours that include (L-R) iced chocolate truffles & mint with black sesame puree, whipped coconut yoghurt & toasted coconut topped with purple shiso, nut and seed trail bar with dried cherries and dark chocolate, and the melt-in-the-mouth frozen paddle pop.
Dining with a view has come along way since the days of bland buffets and menus catering to safe palates. At O Bar and Dining, produce and technique shine at the hands of Templeman. The spectacular views somewhat become eclipsed by what is on your plate. Just remember to look up once in a while as Sydney Harbour glides past.
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O Bar and Dining
Level 47, Australia Square
264 George Street, Sydney
Ph: (02) 9247 9777
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