Seated near the floor-to-ceiling glass doors, the view never gets old, even for a local - there's something romantically patriotic about dining on glistening Sydney harbour with the Opera House in full view.
|Ocean Room martini from Ocean Room, Overseas Passenger Terminal, Circular Quay|
I started with the Ocean Room martini (technically a vesper) featuring gin, vodka, Lillet Blanc and three condiments in the form of house-made spherified liquid-filled balls.
The cocktail itself wasn't a face-slappingly strong rendition, but went down well with the sweet yuzu lemon and pink grapefruit spheres while the Sicilian green olive sphere seemed a little diluted and artificial in flavour.
|Kaki - freshly shucked Sydney rock oyster, Guinness, myoga, Yamazaki silk|
However, Ocean Room’s additions and garnishes made it a genuinely special starter, fancied-up with a Guinness stout dressing, myoga pickled young ginger and a gold-flecked ‘Yamazaki silk’ jelly sheet, subtly flavoured with, presumably, Japanese Yamazaki whisky.
|Ochazuke - cold-drip dashi & premium gyokuro green tea, Koshihikari rice crust, ﬂame seared latchet, umeboshi sorbet, wasabi dust|
Ocean Room’s modern, chilled version featured crisp, puffed Koshihikari rice (the best quality rice for sushi making) rather than the steamed/boiled variety, with a combination of cold-drip dashi stock and premium gyokuro green tea poured at the table.
In all, I think ochazuke is a dish that needs getting used to: the cold temperature of the dish, the liquid and various textures, and the slight bitterness to the green tea were all very new and surprising to my palate.
|Maguro - Yellow ﬁn tuna, Sicilian green olive & buﬀalo mozzarella drops, crystallised yuzu, soy pearls, tomato chips|
The spheres were more of an amusing diversion from the main game of the tuna which was served diced like a tartare with an array of condiments to add as you pleased, along with thin wheels of dehydrated tomato 'chips' acting as a cracker for the tuna.
|Shinjo - house-made croquette, tiger prawn & calamari, yuba angel hair|
With such a memorable appearance and texture complementing the seafood flavours, this was easily one of my favourite dishes of the tasting menu.
|Onsen - autumn vegetable collection, yaki-onigiri, black shichimi, |
house made anchovy & garlic bath
Basically an Italian bagna cauda, the fresh and crisp vegetables were an absolute delight and the hands-on manner of eating mixed up the tasting menu with an element of fun.
|Sashimi - daily recommendation, seasonal sashimi selection|
Firm hairtail came in a bamboo container, served diced with shallots and ginger, while bar cod sashimi with slivers of shiso leaf was a first for me.
|Shabu2 - wagyu beef, grilled tofu, seasonal mixed vegetables, |
dashi consomme, lime chilli soy
This was comfort in a bowl with exceptional flavours in the broth flavouring the delicate grilled tofu and an array of seasonal vegetables; while the lime chilli soy sauce ably lifted the flavours from the rich, tender wagyu beef slices.
|Miso cod - signature grilled sweet miso cod ﬁllet, ginger risotto, orange miso|
Also a signature at Ocean Room, the small cod fillet was perfectly coloured and flavoured with a sweet miso paste and then char grilled to a firmly flaking texture with the caramelised surfaces being the ultimate highlight.
The ginger-scented risotto was a gorgeously appropriate accompaniment; bulking up a light but luxurious dish, while the squiggles of orange miso sauce seemed somewhat superfluous with the perfectly cooked fish.
|Butabara - simmered pork belly, melting tofu, yuzu chilli ponzu|
|Sansui - wagyu ﬂat iron steak, Tasmanian pepper jus, quinoa crusted king prawn, Americaine cream, agedashi taro potato|
The wagyu flank steak was a bit more of a challenge to a (over)full stomach. With a bit of chew, the flank was full-flavoured with buttery wagyu richness paired with a unique taro potato, shaped and deep fried like a potato gem.
|Edo-mae sushi - three authentic Tokyo style nigiri sushi, chef’s daily recommendation|
Ocean Room do a petite Edo-Mae style nigiri sushi which I learnt about on a previous visit. The rice plays an important part in the delicate sushi while the daily fish selection included tuna, salmon and imperador – the latter of which I would describe as a sweeter, firmer white fish than kingfish.
|Amaguri - Amaguri chestnut mont blanc, green tea angel cake, spiced ice cream, chestnut puree, cognac persimmon|
It was a subtle and not-too-sweet pairing with a Japanese touch in the green tea angel cake enclosed within the nutty threads of the mont blanc.
Twelve exquisite courses (with that winning view) for $120 is serious value at this fine end of town. Chef Noda's autumn tasting menu has redefined the idea that Japanese cuisine isn't warming, comforting, cool-weather food - and it's one that will probably have diners falling over themselves to try in the cooler months.
Food, booze and shoes dined as a guest of Ocean Room, with thanks to Wasamedia.