Bianca: I’m always dubious when it comes to dining in hotel restaurants, I like to get out, see the sights and try differing foods. Luck wasn’t on my side in my quest to get to Hamish Inghams ‘The Woods’ before he shut up shop. History wasn’t going to repeat itself and I made it a point to visit Mark Best’s more wallet friendly ‘Pei Modern’.
Despite its location in the Four Seasons ground level lobby, effort has been made to somewhat segregate it from the general riff raff. It’s homely yet elegant with dark rich wooden hues, easily an ideal location for a family lunch or a romantic dinner date.
A restaurant that offers complimentary bread/butter/oil moves up a couple of notches in my books instantly, the bread wasn’t warm, which is my preference but the butter was easily spreadable.
I am not one for Oysters at all but Bre-Arn was instantly taken with his ‘Clyde River Rock Oyster’ $4.50 each. Described as having a slight saltiness with a sharp kick from the accompanying vinaigrette.
I knew this was going to challenge me but I just had to see how this dish was served. The ‘Chicken Parfait Doughnut’ $5, was certainly ‘interesting’, the doughnut component was light and fluffy with a crisp exterior shell. The parfait was on the gamier end of parfaits and pate’s, so I struggled. One bite was more than enough.
More of a crowd pleaser, the ‘Salt Cod Croquettes’ $13.50 (6 in a serve) had a crisp breaded shell encasing a smooth fluffy mixture of smooth cod and potato filling. A bite of the croquette with the aioli balanced beautifully.
Bry was after something hearty and couldn’t look past the ‘300g 5+ Striploin Steak’ $55. A beautifully cooked medium rare steak, served alongside two large pieces of mushrooms and a smoky harissa sauce. You’re paying for quality here and it shows.
Basically when I hear Pei Modern it’s usually in the same sentence as their famous ‘Casarecce’ –w/chicken dumplings and reggiano $35. Perhaps if I did a bit more research I would have ordered with some trepidation. I savoured each bite, barring my Nonno and Nonno’s dishes growing up, no other pasta dish has captured my attention like this one had. Sometimes ignorance is truly bliss. The chicken ‘dumplings’ consist of a mixture of chicken livers, hearts and gizzards, did I relish every single bite? Absolutely yes. The creamy rich sauce – a mixture of stock and parmigiana reggiano was bold and full flavoured. If Pei Modern had a signature dish, it would surely be this one.
And just because you can always use more cheese in your life, we shared the ‘Burrata, Romanesco, cauliflower and permission $18. I weep for the lactose intolerant, it’s a life I wouldn’t want to live. The slight, delicate slithers of pear counterbalanced the saltiness of the burrata perfectly.
And to end the night on a sweet note, chocolate is always my go to. The ‘Milk Chocolate Sorbet, Seville orange marmalade and Anzac biscuit $16 was a mixture of flavours, textures and temperatures. The sorbet was unexpectedly creamier than I was anticipating and the Anzac cookie with a liking to that of a tuile was spot on. I do not like orange marmalades or jams and found this one a little bit too sickly sweet for my tastes. But a great dessert if you are looking for something on the lighter scale.
I’m glad I made it a point to move Pei Modern to the top of my dining list, I have plans to bring Mumma S so she can try that Casarecce for herself. I wonder what my Nonno would think?