Tag Archives: Bistro

Just Pure Bistro at Swissotel Sydney

There is a tingly feeling that comes with dining in a luxury hotel. The place seems to exist on its own frequency, which gives even the jaded local the delicious feeling of rendezvousing in one’s own town. This is especially true of Sydney’s Swissotel, with its practically-hidden entrance on Market Street, across the road from the high-octane glitz of Topshop and the State Theatre.

Meredith goat cheese croquettes

Meredith goat cheese croquettes

The Swissotel’s new signature restaurant, Just Pure Bistro, also thrives on unexpected appearances. The mirrored elevators and marble tiles of the hotel sharply contrast with the styling of the restaurant’s entrance, which is piled with bales of hay strewn with pumpkins and wheels of cheese. Executive Chef Stephan Tseng is breaking into territory so far untouched by Sydney’s high-end hotels; the reasonably-priced bistro. JPB has all the makings of a budget-blowing restaurant – the Stolzle Lausitz glasses, plush furnishings and ambient lighting – but the menu has been thoughtfully constructed with comfortingly familiar dishes at equally comforting prices.

Grilled swordfish with organic soba noodles, smoky eggplant and stuffed zucchini flowers

Grilled swordfish with organic soba noodles, smoky eggplant and stuffed zucchini flowers

We are seated in one of the glass atriums that line the outside wall of the restaurant, the sinewy cables of Sydney Tower rise directly before us and the magic of the city skyline looms beyond. The hospitality of the staff is at once professional and homely. The delivery of the menus is accompanied by an insight into JPB’s focus on sustainable, ethical dining and a well-informed explanation of the farms that supply the kitchen with its produce. There is a complimentary serving of house-baked spelt with olives and a side of deliciously fruity olive oil from a small producer in Megalong in regional NSW.

Frozen nougat with fresh berry salad and green tea ice cream

Frozen nougat with fresh berry salad and green tea ice cream

What follows is a theatre of country-style flavours executed with five-star technique. The Hunter Valley organic chicken is served with a crispy, golden skin on a generous pile of green beans, mushrooms and puy lentils. The lamb rack, plate after plate of which seemed to be coming out of the kitchen for every occupied table in the restaurant, was juicy and flavorsome. The mille-feuille was a ballerina of a dessert, all wafer-thin layers of crisp pastry constructed with delicate slivers of pear and light vanilla custard.

Sydneysiders are notoriously image-conscious. Long-trapped between the desire to be seen in a dining room with class but wary of spending a small fortune on a weekday meal, JPB breaches the gap nicely.

Elizabeth Fenech

Read more about Just Pure Bistro here

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The Best comes to Melbourne in the form of Pei Modern

When it comes to dining in Australia, it is the North versus the South, Sydney versus Melbourne. It is a rivalry that has existed for decades and one which has only but intensified in the past few Masterchef-obsessed years.

So when Sydney’s Best comes to Melbourne, it is hard to avoid the commotion. The “Best” comes in the form of Pei Modern, a new fine-diner in Melbourne’s inner city. A double entendre, Pei Modern is the creation of Mark Best, of Sydney’s Marque Restaurant. As one of only five restaurants in New South Wales to be awarded the highly coveted title of 3 Chef Hats, Marque is the epitome of fine dining in Australia.

While Marque devotees may be disappointed to hear that Pei Modern is quite different from its Sydney sibling, Pei Modern does draw some similarities. The restaurant space, like Marque, is simple and elegant with upholstered seats and ambient lighting.

Caramelised tomato stuffed with twelve flavours and star anise ice cream

The similarities tend to stop about here. Rather than being located in the epicentre of Melbourne dining, as Marque is on Crown Street in Surry Hills, the location of Pei Modern is slightly unusual. Tucked away at the back of Collins Place, diners walk through an empty retail centre, where only a handful of couples, box of popcorn in hand, can be glimpsed heading downstairs to a movie at Kino Cinemas.

Rather than a multi-course degustation, diners to Pei Modern can enjoy simple a la carte fare, at more than reasonable prices. A selection of eight elegant dishes comprise the main menu, with matching sides, while the bar menu offers more casual drinking fare such as chicken liver parfait and croquettes. Not interested in the dinner menu? Unlike Marque, it doesn’t cost $160 to experience the Best, at Pei Modern, you can put the Best to test with breakfast for just $8.

Anna Lisle

DETAILS
The name Pei Modern is Mark’s tribute to the architect I.M. Pei, responsible for the famous inverted glass pyramids at the Louvre. The team behind Pei Modern include Mark Best of Sydney, together with Peter Bartholomew and David Mackintosh, both from MoVida. The Head Chef is Matt Germanchis (formerly of Pandora’s Box, MoVida, Fat Duck) and the restaurant manager is somellier Ainslie Lubbock (formerly of Royal Mail Hotel and Attica).

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Read more about Pei Modern here

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