It's not every day that you get a choice of 4 different salts to add to your food, at least not for me anyway. But then again it's not every day that we dine in fancy restaurants like JPB (Just Pure Bistro) at the Swissotel. Infact, we rarely dine at restaurants like this (we like quantity perhaps a little more than we like quantity) but a recent Groupon deal did make it quite affordable for us to have a quiet birthday dinner here.
Black Garlic and Chive Damper
Situated on the 8th floor of Swissotel, right next to Crossroads bar (home to the famous high tea buffet), the restaurant is a nice dining space. If you're lucky enough to get a seat next to the window as we did, you'll have a lovely view of Sydney Tower towering above you.
The 5 course menu starts with the black garlic and chive damper with seaweed butter. The bread is nice and soft, though the butter didn't really taste that different to normal butter.
Moreton bay Bug
The starter of Moreton bay bug is presented beautifully, served in small cubes mixed with ginger, capsicum, shallot and interestingly Nashi pear. The pear imparts a different type of sweetness, and though I personally found it quite amusing, I can't say everyone enjoyed this combination.
Roasted Baby Beetroot Salad
The entree of roasted baby beetroot with field to feast rocket and Janne Cheddar Chevre sounds more like a glorified salad than anything, and though it looks that too, we are really surprised that it tastes much better than expected.The rocket is fresh and its light bitterness accentuates the sweetness of the beetroot- something I'm not usually too much of a fan of. The seed cracker and crushed pistachios seem more for garnish than taste, but they add a nice textural contrast to the salad.
Ala Minute Smoked Ocean Salmon
The other entree option is the Ala Minute Smoked Ocean Salmon, served with cauliflower, tarragon and pumpernickel. We quite enjoy the salmon as it is not overly smoky. It's our first time trying pumpernickel in seed form, and it's surprisingly a lot harder than we'd expected.
12-hour Braised Short Rib
For mains, I ordered the 12-hour Braised Short Rib which was done perfectly. The meat is so tender it falls off the bone, and there's plenty of flavour in the pepper berry bordelaise sauce.
Grilled Hervey Bay Scallops in Shell
My friend had been recounting her experience with ordering scallops at a fancy restaurant, where she received on 4 pieces of scallops for her main course. So we breathe a sigh of relief when the grilled Hervey Bay Scallops come in a serving of 8, although it's still quite not enough to fill one up. The scallops are cooked beautifully, and go well with the lemon myrtle sauce.
Tasmanian Atlantic Salmon
The Tasmanian Atlantic salmon is a little small,but the quite enjoyable, with the skin being deliciously crispy. The salmon is tasty enough on its own, but the chive hollandaise also pairs well with it.
Cape Byron Tenderloin
The Cape Byron Tenderloin is not a particularly big serving either, but it is delicious, especially with their house made smoked steak sauce.
Roasted Pineapple Pavlova
Just as with the starter and entrees, the theme of plating on one side of the dish continues with the Roasted Pineapple Pavlova which is quite impressive in its presentation. I'm not really a fan of pavlova so I can't comment on the taste, but they did seem quite satisfied with it!
Banana Caramel New York Cheesecake
The banana caramel cheesecake is also plated beautifully, especially with caramelised banana which is my favourite part of the dish. The banana cheesecake, which looks rather much like a muesli bar, is surprisingly soft, almost mousse like texture. And if there's not enough already going on, there's also candied popcorn and salted hazelnuts which are tasty and a fun addition to the dessert.