Alex: There are many fine dining restaurants in Sydney that offer great service, great food and also great views but there is just something that much more unique about the whole experience at Altitude Restaurant which is perched high up on the 36th floor of the Shangri-La hotel.
Both Blu Bar and Altitude simply ooze luxury. There’s no doubt that it offers one of the most breathtaking views of Sydney’a most iconic attractions and it’s no wonder why you feel like some sort of royal as you sit back and sip on a cocktail as you take in the view.
Our amazing bartender Art had prepared for us some of the new cocktails from the ‘Liquid Physics’ Menu. If you like a show then these drinks and their accompanied theatrics will surely entice you.
The idea behind the ‘Liquid Physics’ is about harnessing the science of energy, movement and force to craft a cocktail experience that was reminiscent of the quality scene in the bar tending days of the 20’s. The team at Blu Bar’s goal was to “enhance the style, creativity and art of a cocktail”.
If you’re not sold already on the idea let me give you a little taste of what we got to experience.
Cocktail 1: Smoking Mistress: A sensual mix of bourbon, peach liqueur and Montenegro stirred through with walnut bitters and smoked tea. The secret you’ll want to share.
Cocktail 2: Aurora: Gin, apricot liqueur, mix berry syrup, lemon and pineapple juice topped with a delicate rhubarb and berry espuma foam.
After watching Art create his own works of art (See what I did there) we got the best seat in the house and tried Cocktail number 3: Nectar from the Orient: An exotic blend of Cointreau, Bombay Gin, and green tea artfully combined with mango puree and elderflowers.
Obviously, after a really stressful hour of drinking cocktails the only thing to do was to prepare ourselves for the degustation at Altitude. We again, were lucky to be sitting in the private dining section with views so beautiful I think it made all of us have a newfound appreciation for Sydney.
To begin our dining experience we were brought a delicate amouse-bouche. The inside was like a tomato parfait accompanied by a white vinegar jelly, giving the dish a really well-balanced acidic taste. Almost a take on a bruschetta.
Almost instantaneously after the Amuse Bouche was taken away, another waiter swiftly placed three Fresh Oysters at the table and a cloud of dry ice enveloped our table.
This was the first time that I had actually tried Oysters. Let’s just say that it will most likely be my last but I can definitely appreciate why people really enjoy them. Vanessa is an Oyster lover so we’ll take her word for it as she thought they were beautiful.
The first proper dish of our epi-curious menu came out which was the Cured yellow fin tuna, confit quail egg yolk, black sesame, grapefruit textures. Ever since my dining experience at Nobu in Mykonos and the omakase experience at Sokyo at the Star, I have a new-found appreciation for sashimi and how much of a difference the quality of the fish can make to its taste. It was unanimous that the dish was a light and refreshing way to begin the degustation. The tuna literally melted in your mouth and the quail egg yolk aided in creating a somewhat rich dimension to the dish which paired well with the texture of the grapefruit.
Dish number 2 was the Tasmanian Salmon, compressed apple, horseradish, granola. Before even mentioning the food, Vanessa kept on making mention of how clever the plating was and by plating I mean the actual plate as well. The waitress even went so far as to find out online where they were purchased for Ness, so Kudos the wait staff for really going out of their way! Two dishes in and it was already evident that the menu would be one that is almost completely flawless. Every bite of this dish was as moreish as the first. The salmon had such a light flavour that was sweetened well with the compressed apple.
We were lucky to be one of the first to try a new addition to the menu. Oxtail – slow cooked for 6 hours, with a smoky eggplant (middle eastern way) and pistachio. The dish is a clear representation of new Chef De Cuisine – Ricardo Ferreira’s cooking techniques. Ricardo has a less is more approach to creating his signature “simplistic” style of food. This was actually one of my favourites of the night. The flavours were strong and intense but it’s what made it so good. A dish like this really needs to give you a kick and make you savour the flavours and this is exactly what it did. The Oxtail is now available to customers .
Another crowd favourite, the Pork jowl, pigs ears, white asparagus, prune puree, shaved fennel. I probably would’ve preferred not knowing about the pigs ears, but every element to this dish was so perfect. The crunch of the asparagus, the decadently soft pork. It was literally a dish that just made you nod your head and smile.
It was finally time for our mains and Bianca went for the Thilmere duck, burnt apple puree, cider braised endive, glazed figs, nashi pear. I’ve never been much of a fan of duck and even now I am not, so this dish really wasn’t for me. Bianca’s opinion: The duck was cooked well, but was probably one of her least favourites of the night. The endive was her favourite element on the plate and added a smoky flavour to the duck.
Myself and Ness like always, picked the winner. The Wagyu tenderloin, braised cheek, onion purée, bone marrow, heirloom carrots. One word, amazing. The wagyu was unlike any that I’ve ever tried before. The crispy kale tasted like popcorn and the crunchy bone marrow was phenomenal. Vanessa doesn’t really like beef cheek so she left that part. I quite enjoyed it but found it to be a little rich. Other than that it was a perfect dish.
Cue bathroom/selfie/cocktail/view break before dessert.
After a little breather and a round of espresso martinis, we were brought a palate cleanser which consisted of an apple jelly with foam. Refreshing and light just like a palate cleanser should be. It was almost as if you were eating “air”. Yes that was the word that Bianc used on the night to describe this. Considering there was three of us we didn’t want to get the same thing that they were offering on the degustation menu, so we decided on three separate things.
Vanessa ordered the Banoffee – Caremlized banana parfait, dulce de leche, chocolate. A clever take on the classic banoffee pie. The deconstructed dish was a little too sweet but I think the fruit, even if it was smothered in dulche de leche was needed after the meal.
Bianca, always one to stick to what she knows she likes went with the Chocolate – Peanut Snow, peanut praline, peanut ice cream, chocolate gel. If you’re not worried about rich desserts and can soldier on after a full on meal then this is your kryptonite. It might not be the prettiest dessert but it is literally peanut butter after peanut butter. The flavours so strong it was almost as if you were eating peanut butter out of the jar…And don’t judge because myself and Bianca have been known to do that!
And myself, I went with something I wouldn’t normally get. The Mango – Mango parfait, roasted white chocolate, coconut gel, lemon curd. As of recently I’ve started to really grow fond of Lemon curd whether it be in a tart, hotcakes, or even by itself, so it was a welcomed addition on the plate. The mango parfait reminded me of the Weis Sorbet brand. Probably the most sufficient way to finish a lengthy meal as it wasn’t too heavy.
As I had mentioned at the beginning, there really is no other place in Sydney that offers the dining experience that you get at Altitude. I’ve been to many fine dining restaurants and I have to say, at the moment Altitude is by far the winner and it really is the perfect spot for any occasion.
Until next time!
For Food’s Sake dined as guests of Altitude restaurant and Shangri-La. All opinions however, are our own. A big thank you to Alise and Deanne for organising our visit.