Ocean Room, Circular Quay

Lately I have been feeling conscious of my budget and trying to limit my fine dining....to the extent possible.

Ocean Room would fall into a 'special occasion' category but for the fact that it is in the Entertainment Card book.  Cardholders receive 25% off the total bill and lucky for me, I know several people with Entertainment cards!

Ocean Room is located at the Overseas Passenger Terminal in Circular Quay.  Their seating style varies from cosy booths to tables for large groups.  It definitely provides a romantic setting, especially on a Friday night with candles flickering on each table.
All of their cocktails sounded delicious and it was hard to pick just one.

Nashi and ginger cosmo ($18)
Absolut pears vodka, Nashi pear nectar, ginger liquer, fresh lime juice and cranberry juice

This interpretation of a Cosmopolitan was divine.  It was sweet, but not sickly sweet and the taste of pears shone through.

Unfortunately I would have to say that the cocktail was probably the highlight of the meal.  Maybe I had high expectations for Ocean Room? Too high?  The food didn't blow me away and I'm glad that we had the Entertainment Card discount.

For my entree, I selected four items from their 'Japanese style tapas' section of the menu.

Left to right: Curry Pan (crispy bread filled with Japanese style waygu beef cheek curry) - $4.00
White Gazpacho (almond milk and tomato water, scallop ceviche and tomato sorbet) - $4.50
Soft shell crab taco (spiced soft shell crab, pickled vegetables, crispy taco shell) - $6.00
Calamari pops (tempura house-made calamari pops, green curry salt, crispy mint) - $4.00

What to say about this selection?  It was rather bland for my tastebuds.  The lowlight was the White Gazpacho, which had the consistency of a light cauliflower puree but tasted like..something very unpleasant.  The mixture of tomato water and almond milk did not go down well.

The calamari pops tasted like plain calamari that you could get from your local fish and chip shop.  The curry pan was cute and, along with the soft shell crab taco, probably the best out the lot but still nothing out of the ordinary.

My friend ordered the spider roll.

Spicy spider roll - soft shell crab sushi roll, fresh tomato salsa ($17)

Spicy potato fries - spiced french fries, shichmi pepper mayonnaise ($8)

Kamo-rosu duck 
Japanese style triple cooked duck breast, soy mirin jus, eggplant and pickled beetroot - ($39)

Chilli and garlic marron
South Australian whole marron, wok tossed with sea salt and live peppercorn blend ($36)

Toban yaki creme brulee
Classic creme brulee, pomelo marmalade, seasonal fruit compote ($18)

Chai tea

I probably wouldn't go out of my way to revisit although having said that, the atmosphere was very lovely and service was great too.

Ocean Room on Urbanspoon

The Morrison Bar & Oyster Room, Sydney CBD

As soon as I saw the Morrison's menu, I knew that I had to go try it - the food sounded yum! It's also in a convenient location on George Street where the old Brooklyn hotel used to be - now it has been revamped and renovated into a completely different look.

We went on a Thursday night after work for some drinks and nibblies. The place was jumping and despite the large dining areas, most tables were filled. The dim lighting and warm vibe felt inviting after a short walk in the winter cold.  I can definitely see the Morrison becoming an after-work favourite with the hordes of Sydney CBD workers.

There was a decent cocktail list and I ordered the Morrison's signature cocktail to sip on - freshly juiced Granny Smith apples blended with rye vodka ($15).   It was refreshing and not too sweet, with small slices of apple adding some crunch to the drink.

Given that the Morrison is an oyster bar, it seemed silly to not order some oysters to try!

We selected three different varieties to try and they each tasted extremely fresh.  

We were a bit perturbed at the menu which asterisked some items as only being available between 3pm to 6pm but the waitress assured us that they were available for dinner.  Yay!

Duck Liver Parfait with Pedro Jiminez jelly and toasted brioche ($15)

The star of this dish was not the duck liver parfait (because duck liver parfait always tastes amazing anyway) - but instead, it was the brioche that had me exclaiming how lovely it was.  It was incredibly soft, like a soft pillow.  Not what I had been expecting! As is often the case with pate and liver parfait dishes, I wished there was more bread. 

Split Garlic 'n' Pernod Prawns
cooked over coals with garlic, Pernod, parsley butter ($26)

These prawns may have been my favourite dish of the night.  How can you go wrong with garlic, parsley and butter?

Warm duck salad

I found the duck salad to be disappointing although my friend liked it.  The duck pieces were a bit tough and the salad a bit dry in general.

Caesar salad with 62 deg hen egg, white anchovy and jamon breadcrumbs ($20)

The egg is buried in this photo but take my word for it, it oozed out like nobody's business once I prodded it with a fork.  I loved everything about this salad - the crisp leaves, the plump anchovies, the smeared egg.  Would happily order this again. 

Overall I was very impressed with the Morrison and can't wait to return to try more of the menu.  I might make a booking next time though - I can foresee this place gaining even more popularity if it's first few weeks are anything to go by!

The Morrison Bar & Oyster Room on Urbanspoon

Lantern by Wagaya, Haymarket

As a fan of Wagaya, I was excited when I read that they had recently opened up a sister restaurant on George Street called 'Lantern'.   Mobblees and I decided to check it out one Friday night soon after it had opened.

It is located on the second level of the Sun Tower building, close to the World Square area of George Street.  We didn't make a reservation so had to wait about fifteen minutes for a table.  I didn't mind though because we ended up getting a great table overlooking George Street.

The layout of the restaurant was like a maze - deceivingly small as you walked down the hallway past the karaoke rooms, only to open up into a range of booths and seating that stretched out far.

View from our booth and the dimly lit interiors

Lantern has the same touch-screen ordering as Wagaya. It was a little bit glitchy and slow at times but still more convenient than having to flag down a waiter.

Seafood salad ($13.50)

The salad was a large size and slivers of salmon, kingfish and tuna sashimi were buried at the top of the salad.  A refreshing side to the meal.

Chicken namban with tartare sauce ($9.50)

Chicken namban is a great alternative to chicken karaage.  Lantern's chicken namban was thinly sliced and lightly battered, but still deliciously moist and juicy on the inside.

Lightly grilled salmon and scallop sashimi ($13.50)

Rainbow roll ($8.90)

The sushi was fresh and cheap too.  All in all, Lantern is a good addition to the Wagaya family - I'll just have to remember to book next time!

Lantern By Wagaya on Urbanspoon

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