The Observatory Hotel is no more, replaced by The Langham, Sydney. Apart from the new sign out the front, things look much the same inside, with The Globe Bar and the Galileo Restaurant remaining unchanged in name.
Head Chef Anthony Craven's menu at Galileo is described as modern Australian although there are distinct French influences throughout. Patrons can choose to order from the a la carte menu (mains $37-$51) or partake in the 8-course degustation for $110. A vegetarian degustation - including onsen egg and cauliflower steak - is available for $95.
Galileo dining room
It's quiet and subdued in the dining room, dark and stately with wood panelling, chandeliers and heavy antique furniture. The crowd is mostly couples or small groups of friends, with a large contingent of Japanese businessmen occupying one table.
Amuse bouche: smoked oyster on pickled cabbage
We've opted for the degustation tonight and proceedings commence quickly with the amuse bouche. The smoked oyster is perhaps a touch too chilled to fully appreciate its flavour, served on a bed of pickled cabbage that is reminiscent of sauerkraut.
Balmain bug and ocean trout with cucumber puree and duck prosciutto
Course number two is a pretty arrangement of colours and textures, from the plump pillow of buttery ocean trout to the sweet curl of Balmain bug and paper thin slices of beetroot. I'm intrigued most by the duck prosciutto but it's presented as a crumbled salty soil rather than a fatty sheath.
Seared yellow fin tuna with tamarillo chutney, crispy shallot and lemon oil jus
A painted orb of lemon oil jus makes our next dish look just like a fried egg, served on an impressively large plate with a recessed centre. The yellow fin tuna is served two ways - as a clean tuna tartare and seared with crispy shallots as a garnish. A single brussel sprout leaf is a pretty cup for a dark sticky sauce, but it's hard to work out how this dish is meant to be eaten. I make a mistake by eating the three mounds separately, hitting the intense tamarillo chutney last.
Barramundi with mussel, butter lettuce veloute and croutons
Barramundi is perfectly cooked, if a little over-seasoned, with the flesh flaking apart with the touch of a fork. The butter lettuce veloute is rich and silky.
Intermediaire: Strawberry granita
Shot glasses of strawberry granita offer a welcome palate cleanser before the main course. The granita is balanced in sweetness with fine ice crystals.
Tajima beef tenderloin with heirloom tomato, piquillo pepper, olive tapenade and natural jus
Tajima is a specific bloodline of Japanese wagyu, heavy in marbling. The tenderloin offers a rewarding mouthful of tender juicy beef, offset by heirloom tomato, sweet piquillo pepper, asparagus, a whole roasted garlic clove and dots of salty olive tapenade.
Optional cheese plate $10 supplement
We end up sharing the optional cheese plate, trio of cheeses that includes a Woodside brie, roquefort and what's described as 'a semi-hard cheese from the Netherlands'. It comes with a wedge of quince paste, red grapes, dried muscatels, pistachios and an assortment of lavosh and bread sticks.
Strawberry soup with basil sorbet and vanilla panna cotta
There's an element of theatre with the strawberry soup, which is poured at the table by our waiter. It washes over a bowl of berries, and islands of basil sorbet and vanilla panna cotta. The strawberry soup is sweet and refreshing. A shard of meringue sprinkled with strawberry dust escapes the tide to maintain its crispness.
Pain perdu with rhubarb compote and Pedro Ximenez ice cream
Our final dessert is the pain perdu, an eggy French toast made with brioche that is equal parts crunch and squidginess. Pedro Ximenez ice cream has a underlying alcoholic hit and dollops of rhubarb compote provide a balance of acidity.
Complimentary petit fours birthday platter
We're celebrating the Man in Black's birthday tonight and we're surprised with a complimentary petit fours platter, assembled by the kitchen when they'd gotten wind of the occasion. It's a thoughtful gesture, and a sweet finish to the evening.
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Galileo Restaurant at The Langham, Sydney
89-113 Kent Street, Sydney
Tel: +61 (02) 9256 2222
Breakfast daily 6.30am-10.30am
Dinner Tuesday to Saturday 6.30pm-10pm
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3/11/2013 02:33:00 a.m.