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Wednesday, January 02, 2008

New Year's Eve cocktail party at Ocean Room

EDIT: Ocean Room has now closed

Noone does New Year's Eve quite like Sydney.

As an estimated one million revellers packed in tight around the foreshores of Sydney Harbour, I was fortunate enough to receive complimentary tickets (thanks Raita!) to the cocktail party at Ocean Room at the Overseas Passenger Terminal.

With tickets normally retailing at $350 per head, we were treated to a never-ending stream of gorgeous seafood canapes, fruity cocktails, glasses of bubbly and an uninterrupted view of the Sydney Opera House.

Light fittings inside Ocean Room

We started the evening off with drinks...

Strawberry martini cocktails

Blood orange campari and a strawberry martini

and then made numerous sweeps of the help-yourself Sea Bar:

Sashimi shots of ocean trout with chilli soy sauce

Tuna spoons with mustard vinaigrette

Freshly shucked Pacific oysters
served with champagne migonette, balsamic and lemon wedges

Sea bar: Ocean Room smoked salmon served with
chopped capers, cornichons, egg white, egg yolk and salmon roe

Ocean Room smoked salmon

The smoked salmon was divine. Thinly shaved but firm in texture, the salmon had a wonderful smoky flavour and was gloriously fresh and more-ish.

The ocean trout shots and tuna spoons went down a treat but it the plump pearls of glistening salmon roe that won my heart. I'm not sure how many times they had to refill the serving bowl of salmon roe but I may have had something to do with it :)

Wagyu beef carpaccio
with vanilla infused golden pineapple

Porcelain spoons of wagyu beef carpaccio were slippery smooth and tender although I probably prefer my beef a little less sweet and a bit more salty.

Grilled king prawns freshly cooked on the terrace
Beef sirloin, chicken thigh fillet and lamb cutlets were also served

The grill bar had plenty of attention - slices of beef sirloin, fillets of chicken thigh, juicy lamb cutlets and king prawns were all cooked from fresh and served with barbecue sauce and mustard.

Spy photo from the open kitchen prep area:
Applying a blowtorch to foie-gras parfait

(fifth course of the 9-course $450 degustation menu
which we didn't partake in but wished we had)

Plenty more canapes made their rounds throughout the evening:

Marinated baby sardines
served in witlof with croutons, tobiko and a white anchovy dressing

The marinated baby sardines were a tad salty alongside my fruit cocktails but I imagine they would've made a great match with beer. I did enjoy the little crunch of the tobiko flying fish roe.

Left: Takoyaki octopus balls
served with okonomi bbq sauce and red gingerRight: Wasabi prawns with wasabi aioli and green tobiko

Takoyaki octopus balls were golden puffs of creamy octopus in batter; wasabi prawns were lightly deep-fried then doused with wasabi aioli and a sprinkle of green tobiko flying fish roe.

Soft shell crab tacos
with pickled bean sprouts and cucumber julienne

But it was the soft shell crab tacos I was anticipating: the taco sandwich provided a shattering explosion of crunchy taco, sweet crab, cream mayo, crisp cucumber and soft yielding tendrils of pickled bean sprouts.

We also feasted on crispy chicken ribs with kaffir lime and sansho salt, Ocean Room maki sushi and nigiri sushi and semi-dried tomato fresh spring rolls; but had no room for the mini steak sandwiches with habanero mustard. I also somehow missed the rice bubble crustd goat cheese croquettes.

Baby chiffon cake
in a orange juice reduction with subtle cream

We began our dessert journey with fresh fruit skewers (supersweet pineapple, enormous dark purple cherries and gargantuan strawberries), then continued with too-cute shot glasses of baby chiffon cake. Two-storey cubes of baby chiffon cake had been moistened with orange juice syrup then lazily dribbled with light cream and sprinkled with the tiniest garnish of diced strawberries and melon. The effect was like a summer take on Christmas pudding - a gorgeous idea for parties once you managed the delicate knife work.

Miniature ice cream cones in chocolate, strawberry and vanilla

Miniature ice cream cones satisfied the little kid in all of us, and predictably the chocolate ones ran out first, of course. Then we all turned into big kids as the multi-million dollar pyrotechnic spectacular exploded across a perfect Sydney night sky.

Harbour of Light parade against the Sydney Opera House

Fireworks take off from the rooftops of city buildings

Fireworks illuminate the Sydney Opera House

Happy New Year everyone. Hope your 2008 is even more delicious.

Thanks again to Ocean Room Chef de Cuisine Raita Noda for the complimentary tickets as well as his generous $200 dining voucher donation to Menu for Hope 2007 (winners announced early next week!).

View Larger Map
Ocean Room on Urbanspoon

Ocean Room CLOSED
Ground level, Overseas Passenger Terminal
Circular Quay West, The Rocks, Sydney
Tel: +61 (02) 9252 9585

Lunch Tuesday to Friday from 12pm
Dinner Monday to Saturday from 6pm
Late night dining until 12am Friday and Saturday

Related GrabYourFork posts:Ocean Room (Feb09) and (Oct06)Ocean Room NYE Cocktail Party (Jan08)Ocean Room Cooking Demonstration with Raita Noda (Oct06)
Cooking session with Raita Noda, Ocean Room

New Year's Eve Fireworks 2007
15 comments - Add some comment love

posted by Helen (Grab Your Fork) on 1/02/2008 11:13:00 pm


  • At 1/03/2008 1:39 am, Blogger Jen said…

    Happy New Year Helen!
    You lucky thing. Sounds like a great night, food and fireworks... you can't go wrong with that.

  • At 1/03/2008 10:59 am, Blogger ChocolateSuze said…

    heh fringe benefits hey? good work! mmm those slabs of foie gras look awesome you shouldve asked very nicely for one hehe

  • At 1/03/2008 11:09 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    wow! I'm having my wedding reception at ocean room in april so it's great to read about a function there! plus you've given me ideas for the canape selection..i only wish we could also afford the oysters..mm. Thanks Helen!

  • At 1/03/2008 9:55 pm, Blogger Monique said…

    Certainly can't think of a better way and place to spend NYE in Sydney! Looks like it's well worth the $350 ticket (only if I could afford it). And lucky for you, it was free! =P

    Happy New Year!

  • At 1/04/2008 1:45 am, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi jenjen - Yep it was a great night indeed. Hope you have a lovely New Year ahead too :)

    Hi chocolatesuze - lol. They're few and far between so always gratefully accepted :) Heh, I've never been one to put the charm act on, but hey, I betcha you would've scored some!

    Hi liz - Congratulations and wow, what a great venue for your reception. The food will be fantastic I'm sure. Best wishes for the day too!

    Hi Monique - We were actually thinking that $350 didn't seem like too bad value given the view, great food, limitless alcohol and ready access to real toilets! lol. Happy New Year to you too!

  • At 1/04/2008 2:45 am, Blogger n i l e e y said…

    Happy New Year! After seeing the photos of the fireworks at Sydney Harbour Bridge, I wish I was back at Sydney!

    btw, the food looks good too :)

  • At 1/04/2008 9:11 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Happy New Year! It sounds and looks divine and lucky you and well deserved for scoring that invite :) I would've gone crazy over all of that seafood!

  • At 1/05/2008 3:21 pm, Blogger yewenyi said…

    what a feast!

    Happy New Year Helen.

  • At 1/06/2008 7:12 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Oh my..!! what a spread..!
    Happy new year to you and yours. ;)

  • At 1/07/2008 1:48 am, Blogger Deborah Dowd said…

    A spread like that makes it worth braving the drunken masses to go out! Great pictures that made my mouth water!

  • At 1/07/2008 6:29 pm, Blogger Y said…

    Happy New Year to you! What a great way to celebrate! The takoyaki and tacos in particular look very mouth watering.

  • At 1/07/2008 11:48 pm, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi nileey - I think Sydney is one of the best places in the world to celebrate NYE, and yep a never-ending supply of fantastic food never hurts either!

    Hi Lorraine E - I did go crazy over the seafood :) It wasn't quite an Iron Chef dinner (lol) but it was close!

    Hi Yewenyi - It was. I've been kicking myself ever since for not eating more! lol. Happy New Year to you too!

    Hi Mama Bok - It was a great way to bring in a new year of eating. hehe. Happy New Year to you and your family :)

    Hi Deborah - The party kicked on til 2am so by the time we left the streets weren't so bad. The venue itself was an oasis of space and decorum too. lol

    Hi Y - The tacos were delicious and the takoyaki were so pretty. I've never been a huge fan of takoyaki though - the only ones I've really really enjoyed were in Osaka and extra crispy. They always seem a bit gooey to me?

  • At 1/09/2008 3:54 pm, Blogger Eva said…

    That looks so amazing! In a few hours, I'll know if I've won the dining voucher for ocean room - keeping fingers crossed...

  • At 1/10/2008 10:44 am, Blogger Y said…

    Helen, ditto! I've never understood the appeal of takoyaki (gooey and mushy like you said), and then I had some in Tokyo and they were so delicious I wanted more!

  • At 1/12/2008 4:29 pm, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi Eva - Menu for Hope winners have just been posted. No luck this time but the community of Lesotho in Africa say a hearty thank you for your donation :)

    Hi Y - I think I definitely prefer my takoyaki very crispy and not too saucy :)


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