@ the Menzies Hotel
The Menzies Hotel has been one of Sydney's most historical and well-known hotels within the CBD that dates back to the late 1960's and if you're a movie buff like I am then did you know that the Menzies have taken star roles in a movie like Superman Returns as a location shot?
Apart from Menzies having a five second shot of fame in films the hotel is rich in luxury as well as history, being named after one of Australia's best pioneering hoteliers Sir Archibald Menzies. On the first floor resides the restaurant and function room amenities - the hotel's own fine dining restaurant which has previously been a well-sought out rooms such as The Emperor Room which was known to have a retractable ice rink for ice skaters to perform amongst diners. Then there's the Keisan which is a milestone in it's own right - the one and only Japanese restaurant within a hotel during the 60s and was the talk of the town for sharing its progressive post war attitudes.
Let's sidetrack for a while and take a personal stroll down memory lane. It's five years ago in the year 2007 when Miss Sunshine and I have just completed our high school lives and are about to venture off into the unknown world of young adulthood - for me, I was a hapless person who struggled to figure out what to do next in life. Eventually I opted to start out with TAFE - but for most of my friends, university life was their calling or a stint in traveling overseas.
In-between now and then there's been plenty of life's moments to savour, student life played a big role for both of us and from first year to ultimately fourth year Miss Sunshine has finally persevered with her degree and has finally graduated this week from her university with flying colours! I am so proud and happy for my friend and even more delighted to have had the opportunity to dine with her, her close friends and family at the lovely Parkside restaurant over at the Menzies Hotel on Carrington Street.
Walking up from the lobby and into the first floor is an indulgence itself - with rich mahogany wood, plush elegant chairs and sofas along the windows that overlook the Carrington street and high open ceilings create a rather lavish and finely decorated restaurant. Usually, the dining is served overlooking the windows that peer out into the Wynyard and Carrington street, but tonight we were ushered on over to the Carrington function room for a more intimate, softer ambience during dinner.
With a table of eight we all gathered to our crisp linen tables with cutlery, glassware and plates neatly aligned and at the ready for the dinner trade. We had the choice of a two or three course menu which I decided to indulge on the latter.
To start we are given plenty of warm, freshly baked breads - small french baguettes and varieties of olive and onion bread rolls with butter, olive oil and vinegar to serve. Then came our amuse bouche, the visually pleasing little tomato "goldfish" balls and our entrees: torched prawns and a trio of oysters including the spectacular champagne foam and my thyme scented quail.
We toasted to Miss Sunshine for her future ambitions and success with our bountiful supply of wine and champagne when the mains were served. To my left and right was a barramundi dish, the chicken ballotine and I indugled in a maple glazed duck breast. The barramundi, the 'catch of the day,' was a thai inspired dish made up of a green curry marinade accompanied with coconut rice and fresh seasonal greens. For chilli lovers, the chef was not shy and this dish tingled lips. Our waiter detailed that the chicken was rolled and stuffed with leek, onions and sage which infused through the white meat perfectly.
Everyone seemed quite pleased with their mains. For mine alone I was quite happy to have had such thick, juicy Duck breast pieces and the sweet maple glaze accentuated the poultry so well. Its accompanying pumpkin and pear added sweet notes to the gamey meat.
For our sweet tooth lovers there are a few dishes to choose from; I had their baked cheesecake which was creamy and had honeycomb crumbled bits. For me only a few pieces of the honeycomb were good enough because it stuck to my teeth most of the time. The coffee espresso coulis was an extra taste boost to the cheesecake too.
To finish off the evening we ordered a cheese plate of several cheeses and crackers with dried fruit and nuts and one last sweet plate of cakes, tarts and profiteroles to finish off Miss Sunshine's graduation night to a tee. Overall, Parkside proved to be a lovely setting for our occasion with efficient staff and great food all round.