What do you give to a visitor on their first birthday away from home who is in Sydney for only a couple of months and who is already struggling with all the luggage they need to check through without hitting the limits? I’m all for experiences!
Give me experiences anytime, they are much more valuable than material things.
Someone who has seen only little of this beautiful city should be given the royal treatment on their birthday, so this is exactly what we did when our lovely au-pair approached her special day.
There are many outstanding restaurants around the city, but in my view there is only one that has the best views – the O Bar.
High up in the sky, 47 floors up to be precise on top of the iconic Australia Square tower, you are dining in a relaxed, yet elegant atmosphere while the world slowly moves past your window. We measured the time while there – it takes around 90 minutes for the restaurant to make a 360 degree rotation. Perfectly timed for a three course lunch with coffees.
The restaurant is not very easy to find, in fact you need to enter the lobby of Australia Square just like the hundreds of office workers that work on the other floors. A small sign in the elevator indicates that you have come to the right place, and once you step through the elevator doors you will be greeted by the most stunning views across the city.
But let’s talk about the food. O Bar is owned and conceptualised by internationally acclaimed chef Michael Moore. Moore’s philosophy is to produce dishes that are healthy and contemporary, with influences from all around the world coming together to new and exciting creations. It’s the perfect choice for us, as we want to indulge in good food but without the guilty conscience.
We kick off the meal with some bread and butter – the sourdough bread is coming in two different versions, plain and with seeds, both very fresh and with a nice crust. But we don’t linger here for long, as the starters are being served promptly and efficiently.
Our au-pair, previously a self-proclaimed fish and seafood hater, opts for the Japanese inspired steamed prawn dumplings with snow crab, nameko (mushrooms), edamame (soy beans) and shiso (a herb).
The dumplings are boasting with flavour, and since they are steamed they are juicy and soft and melting in our mouths. There is the faint taste of seafood, but also a herby, zesty feel to them; there is so much going on that you can take just little nibbles and enjoy the orchestra of flavours happening on the tongue.
Giving that the O Bar falls into the category of fine dining there is actually quite a big choice of mains on the menu – fish, beef, poultry, vegetarian – the dishes are so varied that a bigger party with diverse tastes will find something for everyone.
My guest decides to try the pork chops, which is an excellent choice of course, as they are being served with grilled zucchini (which she loves!), freekehs (one of those super foods, but really, how cool is the name?), parsley and smoked date honey. A wonderful combination of meaty and juicy flavours and interesting textures, plus the sweetness of the dates of course. My au-pair digs right in, having lost all interest in the lovely Sydney views.
My dish is the snapper, light and crispy, cooked to perfection. I am in fish lover’s heaven. And if it was not for the snapper, the little tomatoes, cooked Provence style, would definitely have me raving about this dish. I just love how these little morsels pop in my mouth, exploding with a juicy sweetness that just asks for more and more…
After our mains we ask for the menu again.
Initially, we planned to have one starter and one dessert to share, but there are so many tempting options that we decide ad-hoc to order two desserts. After all, it is in the desserts that a true chef really shines.
Summer peaches – I just love the name! Close your eyes and let these two words resonate in your mind. Summer Peaches.
Don’t you agree that there is a whole world opening up in front of your inner eye, glaring and bright, in oranges and reds and yellows, sweet, fragrant, soft and cool?
Well, at least this is what goes on in my head when I think about summer peaches. Now, let’s talk about the Summer Peaches that you get at the O Bar. The dish is exactly the way you would think it is, cool, fruity, refreshing and sweet, with real fruit slices and decorated with edible flowers. What a wonderful finish to this three-course-meal.
But wait! There is more. I did mention that we ordered two desserts, right? So here’s is the other one – a “not so naughty tiramisu”. Hard to believe given the amount of chocolate, dairy (actually almond milk) and sweet goodness.
It’s a very unusual approach to a classic Italian dish, but one that I enjoy very much. It might not be naughty, but it feels very rich indeed. Lucky that we ordered coffees with our desserts to help with the processing.
The O Bar has given us exactly what we wanted – a one of a kind experience in the heart of Sydney. While the city was moving past below our feet, we indulged in Michael Moore’s wonderful and healthy cuisine. The service by the way was wonderful, friendly and attentive.
My au-pair will go home with great memories of this beautiful city that has been her home for the last 6 months, as she assured me afterwards, a brilliant gift indeed.
O Bar. Level 47, Australia Square. 264 George Street, Sydney. http://www.obardining.com.au/