I know the title of this blog is about eating out in Tokyo, but I am occasionally allowed out of Japan and I still need to eat! The latest jaunt was to my hometown of Sydney, Australia for the Easter break where I sampled the food of chef/starlet Luke Mangan's new(ish) restaurant in the Sydney Hilton, Glass. If you are a regular reader you will recall his Tokyo venture, "Salt" - a restaurant that I consider to be one of the more interesting in Tokyo. The 40 storey Sydney Hilton was built in the 70s and for many years, while a well-known Sydney landmark, was considered to be an architectural disaster, with no proper entrance onto George Street (Sydney's main street) and a dreadful concrete car ramp running up on the other side from Pitt Street (Sydney's second street). A couple of years ago they decided to almost start again from scratch, stripping out the guts of the building for a complete refit which included a proper street level driveway. I don't think the new ground floor lobby is impressive (with its Gloria Jean's style cafe and shared entrance with the office building next door), but the car access is a definite improvement.
Back to the food. I had heard some mixed reviews about Glass. One good friend told me of an amazing wagyu steak she had there (it is, by the way, my mission to get Australians to pronounce "wagyu" correctly...); while others had told me about some disappointing experiences. Determined to draw my own conclusions, I dragged my parents away from their shopping and sat them down with me in Glass' amazing dining room. The ceilings in the contemporary dining room which looks onto George Street and the Queen Victoria Building are super-high giving a real sense of space and are covered in mirrors. Everything in the restaurant seems super-sized, from the amazingly tall glass wine refrigerators to the huge modern painting above the bar. Despite the mixed reviews, we found the food to be wonderful. Being lunch I didn't want to go too heavy-on, especially as I was booked to go out for dinner the same day. I ordered scallops for my starter. The scallops came out as sliced sashimi served on little cubes of potato confit and served with coriander, nastursians, rock salt and olive oil. The combination of these ingredients was very successful. My mother is a petite lady who, very helpfully, never finishes any of her courses so I also got to sample some of her oysters. The oysters were served six ways. I can't remember all six but they did include tempura, red fish roe, black caviar and sour cream. I do not remember tasting a fresher oyster! For the main I ordered Moreton Bay bugs. These are ugly little native Australian crustaceans that yield very yummy meat. Mine were shelled and served with a sweet carrot ravioli, pine nuts and little currants. The combination of the salty bugs (maybe a touch too salty) and the sweetness of the currants and the carrot ravioli was excellent. This was washed down very nicely with a glass of the "Mangan" sauvignon blanc. And if you're wondering, my mother, father (and I!) had the zucchini flower tempura stuffed with goat cheese. Very nice. There was no room for dessert I am afraid.
If you're in Sydney you should not fail to wander in to Glass. I need to warn you that the prices are much higher for lunch than they are in Tokyo (a sign of the times in a booming Pompeii?), but given the dearth of good restaurants in the centre of Sydney I would definitely try it for business or pleasure.
Tel: 61 2 9265 6068