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Sunday, April 28, 2013

Ocean Room, Circular Quay West, The Rocks

 Located on the waterfront, directly in view of the Opera House, the Ocean Room (Ground Level, Overseas Passenger Terminal, Circular Quay West, The Rocks, Sydney) is as a modern fine dining Japanese restaurant that specialises in its fresh produce and innovative design of its dishes. As the location suggests, the restaurant is directly under the Overseas Passenger Terminal, hence every once in a while, the restaurant offers discount rates for members when a large ship is docked in front of its doors blocking the harbourside view. The Ocean Room and its menu adds a refreshing taste to the realm of Sydney fine dining experiences.

Front Entrance

 It's hard not to go past the tasting menu at any restaurant and at Ocean Room you'll get value for money (if there is such thing as value in fine dining). Currently the 12 course degustation is set at $120 which is just as good, and if not better value than Waqu at Crows Nest. With matching wines it is only an extra $58 ($178 altogether) and it comes with 10 of the courses! But more on that later.

 Dad seems to be a mocktail enthusiast these days and its always the first thing he looks for on a menu. I managed to steal a sip of his 'Afternoon Tea' mocktail and it was quite refreshing.

Afternoon Tea
Earl Grey Tea, Orange Juice, Mint,
Sugar Syrup, House Made Marmalade

The family + Patty opted for the 12 courses, Andrew and I having matching wines each, with Mum and Patty also sharing one too. Raita's Tasting Menu begins with some fresh Sydney Rock Oysters finished off with a hint of myoga (ginger).
Freshly Shucked Sydney Rock Oyster, Guinness, Myoga, Yamazaki Silk

  It was hard to explain the flavours as we ate this dish, seared fish embedded amongst the salty/sour umeboshi sorbet and rice bubbles floating on a green tea broth finished with wasabi dust on the brim. The flavours were subtle but it still sent the tastebuds into overdrive. Presented in the top half of a cocktail glass placed onto an iced up bowl to keep the broth chilled, very unique. Looks like a Japanese styled martini on the rocks!

Cold-Drip Dashi & Premium Gyokuro Green Tea, Koshihikari Rice Crust,
Flame Seared Latchet, Umeboshi Sorbet, Wasabi Dust

 This dish was exceptionally good and really highlighted the freshness of the produce that the Ocean Room has become renown for using. The green olive and mozzarella drops oozed out with flavour when popped and tomato chips were a neat little touch. These elements were all placed onto a thick line of tuna tartare.

Yellow Fin Tuna, Sicilian Green Olive & Buffalo Mozzarella Drops,
Crystalised Yuzu, Soy Pearls, Tomato Chips


Fried croquette ball, consisting of prawns and calamari, nothing out of the ordinary however was still quite tasty. Thin strands of yuba (bean curd) was placed on top.

House-Made Croquette, Tiger Prawn & Calamari, Yuba Angel Hair

For me, this felt like an anchovy, garlic fondue with vegetables as the dipper. The sauce was flavourful and getting your hands involved made it that much more fun to eat veggies. Presented nicely on a candle lit pillar.

Autumn Vegetable Collection, Yaki-Onigiri, Black Shichimi
House Made Anchovy & Garlic Bath


A function is room located upstairs to the main dining area. Bookings can be made online. Great view from up there and perfect for work gatherings.

Function Room

Back to the food! From the powerful flavours of the last two dishes it was great to slice through the heaviness with some high quality, fresh sashimi.

Seasonal Sashimi Selection

Jackfish, Mackerel, Tuna, Kingfish, Trout
From left to right (I hope I've remembered them correctly)

 A great Autumn dish, a bowl packed with everything you would need to survive during the long, cold days; wagyu, tofu and vegetables. The dashi stock is very clear and a small amount of lime chilli soy is provided on the side which went really well when poured into the broth.

Wagyu Beef, Grilled Tofu, Seasonal Mixed Vegetables,
Dashi Consomme, Lime Chilli Soy

 I'm not going to lie ... but the matching wines are a lot! For anyone! Well at least for Andrew anyways. Here are the hot and cold sake for two of the courses.

Hot & Cold Sake (from the matching wines)

 And for good measure, afterwards some iced sochu.

Mannenboshi Barley Sochu, Miyazaki Japan

  Miso cod has been somewhat of a specialty at the Ocean Room. Since our previous time of trying it on the menu, Raito has infused a few different elements of ginger risotto and orange miso sauce into the dish. The fish is wonderfully flakey and has some really interesting flavours.

Miso Cod-
Signature Grilled Sweet Miso Cod Fillet, Ginger Risotto, Orange Miso

 Probably my favourite for the night, it made my mouth water just by looking at the pork belly sitting on a bed of mushrooms, tofu and some more tasty clear broth. In a test tube was the the ponzu sauce which added even more flavour!

Simmered Pork Belly, Melting Tofu, Yuzu Chilli Ponzu


 The final main of the night, with arguably one of the best tasting and well cooked pieces of meat I've had for a while. The wagyu was seared with a slight char and it was wonderfully pink and juicy in the middle, yum. It was new to see something like quinoa used as an ingredient however the crusted prawn wasn't really the best. The quinoa made it very hard as a crust and the prawn was a little dry.

Wagyu Flat Iron Steak, Tasmanian Pepper Jus, Quinoa Crusted King Prawn,
Americaine Cream, Agedashi Taro Potato

 Quite a sight to be greeted with when you first come in. The rest of the roof is littered with dangling wooden rods, seemingly waiting to fall onto you all at once.

Bar Area

 The penultimate course of sushi was very delectable and finished off the savoury dishes nicely.

Edo-Mae Sushi-
Three Authentic Tokyo Style Nigiri Sushi


I thought it was strange to only offer one dessert in an entire 12 course degustation as I do have a slight sweet tooth but nevertheless it all worked out pretty well. A not too overpowering dessert, with lines of chestnut puree encasing a layered smooth spiced ice cream and green tea cake. Cognac poached persimmon is served on the side. Very good.

Amaguri Chestnut, Mont Blanc, Green Tea Angel Cake,
Spiced Ice Cream, Chestnut Puree, Cognac Persimmon


All a little light headed, Andrew insists on the chocolate tasting plate and it was a perfect accompaniment to finish off dessert. Three well presented chocolate nibbles.

Chocolate Tasting Plate
White & Dark Chocolate Parcel, Chocolate & Espresso Layers, Pistachio Ganache

Was also lucky enough to bump into Youssouf Hersi who plays for the Western Sydney Wanderers. Great guy.

Me & Youssouf

In all, a wonderful night with the family along with some great food. The Ocean Room seems to be an underrated restaurant, however for its price and wonderful scenery both inside and out, it is well worth a try. It definitely caters for both couples and groups so there's no excuse! For me, it is hard to see how it doesn't at least deserve one hat!

Bunny Rating-
Category: Fine Dining

Ocean Room on Urbanspoon

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