Saturday, January 28, 2006

Pier Tasting Room, New South Head Rd, Rose Bay

Pier Tasting Room, New South Head Rd, Rose Bay
Saturday 28 January, 2006

There's been such a buzz around the new Tasting Room at Pier. Favourable reviews and recommendations meant that we decided to try it over lunch. This also meant we could take in the view on a gorgeous summer day.

Well, what an incredible disappointment. The service was non-existent, the view was disgraceful, the pricing was exorbitant and the food wasn't that great.

Let me elaborate.....we arrived only to find the front door blocked by another party. Once we were able to get inside and were greeted, the Maitre'd walked us to our seats in the Tasting Room. This is not a room as you would imagine, more an entrance way through to the restaurant. The high chairs and raised benches are not everyone's cup of tea and they certainly do ensure you will not stick around for a long lunch.

Our 'view' looked directly onto an old boat ramp strewn with rubbish...bottles, chip packets, paper etc. Half way through our meal a young boy from the Marina decided to clean it up by sweeping it all back into the harbour - nice one!

The service was cold & clinical and the wait time between meals was too long. The menu is interesting and all the items look appealing. It is divided into six sections:

- Oysters
- Sashimi
- Tasting raw
- Tasting
- Tasting cheese
- Tasting dessert

and the instructions are to work your way down the menu. We were informed that the meals were approx. half that of a typical entree, however they are priced between $16 - $32 which makes for an expensive lunch.

We decided to order 3 dishes each - I had the Kingfish sashimi ($16), Chilled gazpacho with yabbies ($19) and Pressing of foie gras and duck confit, pickled cherries with toasted brioche ($32). I was not blown away by any of the dishes, they were all good but nothing that special. It didn't help that our waitress kept seeking approval for every dish when she cleared the plates.

My dining buddies ordered Ocean trout tartare with wasabi cream, cucumber and trout roe ($16), Chilled gazpacho ($9), Steamed vongole with garlic, chilli, white wine & parsley ($18), Pastrami of king salmon with lemon, toast and extra virgin olive oil ($18) and 2 x Crispy skinned pork belly with seared scallops and citrus glaze ($22). Again, good but none of the 'wow' factor you would expect.

We have all eaten at Pier before and loved it. It's clearly one of the better seafood restaurants Sydney has to offer..........just not today.

Having worked our way through three meals each, none of us were full. We asked for the bill - $65 each for lunch. If the food was fabulous, service was impeccable and I felt full I would not have a problem with the price. Today's experience made us feel like this was highway robbery.

Not to be outdone we made our way over to Cinema Paris at the Entertainment Quarter to see 'Brokeback Mountain'. The session commenced at 4pm, so we had over an hour to kill. Unanimously we agreed to head over to Golden Century for a quick bite - Salt & pepper calamari and Grandma's bean curd - now that's what I call value for money and a meal that hits the spot.

Pier Tasting Room - 594 New South Head Rd, Rose Bay - (02) 93276561


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