Enjoy the journey not the destination – and this saying certainly rings true when the journey involves the five-star Shangri-La hotel in Sydney. Awarded the 2012 “Best Hotel in Australasia” in the Ultratravel100 Awards, this award-winning hotel, gives new meaning to the word luxury. Doormen at every entrance, polished marble floors, dress codes, dazzling chandeliers – these are but a few of the highlights involved in the dining experience at Shangri-La’s Altitude Restaurant.
Even at 6pm on a weeknight, Level 36 is in full swing. Tourists, hotel guests and corporates gather at Blu Bar, located just next door to Altitude, for a cocktail overlooking some of Australia’s most iconic attractions – Sydney Opera House, Harbour Bridge, Luna Park and Sydney Harbour. Take a sharp right turn, however, and you will find yourself in the plush surrounds of the Altitude dining room.
Breathtaking, awe-inspiring, beautiful, dazzling, magnificent. You can throw around every superlative in the Oxford dictionary and it still won’t convey the view from a table at Altitude. My dining guest and I are escorted to an intimate table, perched beside the restaurant’s famous five-metre high floor-to-ceiling windows. Not for the feint hearted, my dear friend is quite nervous by the sheer drop but it is a small price to pay to experience one of the best views in Sydney.
You rarely find a decent chef behind the pots and pans at hotels, even eminent ones like the Shangri-La. At Altitude, however, things are different. Chef Steven Krasicki, formerly of Restaurant Balzac and Banc, has created a contemporary menu of Australian and European influences. For the die-hard foodie, the seven-course epicurious menu comes highly recommended however the a la carte selection is equally as impressive. An amuse bouche of white asparagus, artichoke and watercress oil, complimentary of the chef, sets the lavish-scene of the evening. It is no secret that I detest soups of any sort however the depth of flavour contained in this gloriously viscous amuse bouche is the masterwork of a refined and experienced team. A half/half order of freshly shucked Sydney rock and Pacific oysters, coupled with a glammed-up version of a nicoise salad, featuring cured yellow fin tuna, pickled white asparagus and quail eggs is a tasteful reminder of the quality of Australian seafood. A dish of crispy skin John Dory with steamed mussels, braised beetroot, blood orange and fennel is not only visually stunning but also a palate pleaser however it is the dessert that steals my heart. The caramelised banana, banoffee mousse, peanut brittle and vanilla ice cream embodies what I can only imagine is the Shangri-La philosophy – luxury and decadence. The crunchy shards of peanut brittle and the sponginess of the banana work harmoniously with the sweet-as-banoffee-pie mousse and vanilla ice cream. For lovers of subtle desserts, try the butter poached pear, but if you’re partial to caramel, then the banana and peanut brittle is a must-order.
Read more about Altitude Restaurant here