Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Astral, Pyrmont St, Pyrmont

Astral, Pyrmont St, Pyrmont
Tuesday 8 May, 2007

I don't enjoy going to the Casino - I think it's tacky and I don't get people who sit at machines and tables and spend their hard earned cash. However, I have found a reason to return........Astral.
Astral is located on the 17th floor of the Casino complex and offers a well kept secret. When you take the elevator to the 17th floor you have two options - turn left to enter Astral restaurant or turn right to enter Astral Bar. Anyone can visit the Bar and you don't need a restaurant reservation to go there. As you walk through the entrance you find yourself in a glass box with grand sweeping views out to the Blue Mountains and across to the city skyline - it's magnificent. Then, you notice the outdoor area. We had a drink outside on this balmy, surprisingly calm evening and soaked up the view. You get to see a view of the city that you rarely see and it is sensational.
We carried our drinks through to the restaurant and were impressed with our table - that was positioned to showcase the view out to the Harbour Bridge and over the city to the East. The dining space is slick with crisp white table clothes, tea lights and a sprig of rosemary on each table. The light fixtures are also worth mentioning. We were warmly greeted by several staff and offered menus. The pre-theatre menu is good value comprising 2 courses for $60 and 3 courses for $72.
Astral is a fine dining restaurant led by chef Sean Connolly and his team and is described as,
Located at the tip of Star City’s Hotel Tower, Astral defines the ultimate Sydney dining experience: panoramic harbour views, modern French menu, extensive wine list and professional service. Astral interiors showcase a rich palette of chocolate and bronze with custom designed wallpaper, extraordinary modernist chandelier and towering 4m wine wall. Coupled with the stunning view of the Sydney skyline, the interiors evoke an atmosphere of comfortable opulence.
After we ordered we were promptly delivered a bread roll accompanied by small dishes of butter and salt. This was shortly followed by the Amuse Bouche: salt & pepper cauliflower on a toothpick and warm cauliflower velonte served in a shot glass with almond oil. It was a wonderful starter. The smell of the almond oil was alarmingly overpowering but once you took a sip of the velonte it disappeared and you were swept up with the flavour of the creamy cauliflower.
For entree I ordered the marinated figs with blue cheese panna cotta, crushed walnuts and fennel salad. WOW! This really worked for me....the combination of the blue cheese and figs was magic. The only downside was that there was so much more blue cheese than fig - so I was left with a large dollop of blue cheese that I didn't want to go to waste. No problem, my dinner buddy still had some bread left so we polished it off that way. My dinner buddy ordered the Terrine of confit chicken, kipler and trompettes, potato butter and green beans.
The staff were good however the sommelier was too assertive for my liking. She was so determined to sell us some wine. For mains we both ordered the white wine daube of beef
pomme puree, white & green asparagus. It was melt in your mouth delicious and incredibly filling. We really had to take our time with this one and savour every mouthful. We also ordered a side of Gratin dauphinois - probably the most decadent version of potato bake I have ever tasted.
This was a great experience and I enjoyed every minute.
Astral - level 17, 80 Pyrmont St, Pyrmont - (02) 9777 9000

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