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Thursday, September 10, 2009

Observatory Hotel Globe Bar, Sydney

It's hard to believe that the Observatory Hotel was only opened in 1993.

Georgian-style architecture is complemented by a old-worlde charm from a bygone era. At the entrance to the hotel bar is a celestial globe from which it takes its name. Crafted in 1799, the globe features a handpainted face of the world's star configurations.

Inside the bar, a thick carpeted room with heavy drapery and solid furniture, a grandfather clock dating from the early 1800s, chimes on the hour. A collection of hard cover books line the shelves, many of them first editions covering topics that include natural history, world travel, science and sport. According to the plaque outside, 852 volumes were specifically purchased for the hotel.

Complimentary dinner rolls

As we sit down to dinner, our waiter pushes our chairs in, lays our napkins across our laps and nods intently when we place our orders. A plate of complimentary dinner rolls arrives quickly, served warm from the oven with a crackly crust.

Crystal Bay prawns wrapped in kataifi pastry $24

An entree of Crystal Bay prawns wrapped in kataifi pastry are a surprise hit. Fresh sweet prawns are swaddled in long and fine noodle threads, deep-fried to a golden crisp. It's like a supremely fancy version of a prawn cutlet, the crumble of fried noodles contrasting against the juicy prawn.

Wagyu steak sandwich with tomato, cheddar, onion and egg $32

The wagyu steak sandwich looks more like a burger, the slices of bread I was expecting replaced by a soft hamburger-style bun.

The wagyu itself is tender but not toe-curlingly so. Tomato, cheddar, red onion rings and a fried egg add depth, although the drizzle of mayonnaise is perhaps a touch excessive on a wagyu steak. The pile of chips are satisfyingly crunchy.

Tajima wagyu beef with mixed salad $45

The Tajima wagyu beef is a much bigger hit. Tajima is a specific breed of wagyu cattle, and the grade cut used is significantly more decadent than the wagyu sandwich. Briefly seared so the insides are still pink, the beef is buttery soft, the decadence of the meat offset by a simply dressed salad.

The lobby

There's plenty to explore on the ground floor of the hotel. To the left of the lobby area is a series of lounges that offer quite seclusion. I'm always drawn to the rooms on the right, the formality of the Drawing Room relentlessly casting my mind toward any number of scenes in Pride and Prejudice.

Card table

Ornate, formal and beautiful, there's a reassuring heaviness to the furniture, and a solemnity that instantly instils a sense of calm.

Chairs around the fireplace

The fireplace

It's tempting to walk around the room pretending to be Elizabeth Bennett and Miss Bingley, but we resist. Besides, we're still awaiting the arrival of Mr Darcy!

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Globe Bar on Urbanspoon

Observatory Hotel Globe Bar
89-113 Kent Street, Sydney
Tel: +61 (02) 9256 2222

Opening hours:
Monday to Saturday 12pm - 12am
Sundays and public holidays 12pm - 10.30pm

Related Grab Your Fork posts:
Observatory Hotel high tea
7 comments - Add some comment love

posted by Helen (Grab Your Fork) on 9/10/2009 12:18:00 am


  • At 9/10/2009 1:34 am, Blogger Yas @ hungry.digital.elf. said…

    Wow Tajima wagyu beef?!
    I've had a great Tajima in Hyogo Japan before. Premium yumminess!

    Wow it's only since 1993? I thought they have been there for ages!

  • At 9/10/2009 9:55 am, Anonymous Katie said…

    I've never even thought about having wagyu beef in a sandwich or a burger, but it does look delicious!

  • At 9/10/2009 11:50 am, Blogger Stephcookie said…

    I'm like Yas, I totally thought it had been around for ages, maybe it's the decor that makes me think that? That Tajima waygu sounds lovely!

  • At 9/10/2009 10:41 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Oh........Crystal Bay prawns wrapped in kataifi pastry. You can easily recreate this dish at home with finely shredded frozen springroll wrapper.

  • At 9/11/2009 10:16 pm, Blogger Betty @ The Hungry Girl said…

    Ooh, I love the decor. It does look very quaint, very jane austen! love it! the tajima wagyu looks delicious!

  • At 9/13/2009 9:44 pm, Anonymous divemummy said…

    aaahhh......I loved the serenity and olde world charm of this place. A fantastic place to forget that you're in the midst of a bustling metropolis.

  • At 9/13/2009 10:46 pm, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi Yas - The architects did a really great job to keep the building in character with its surroundings. The Tajima beef was wonderful - really makes you appreciate the variations in quality of wagyu available!

    Hi Katie - Oh wagyu burgers and sandwiches are delicious. Actually wagyu anything is usually good! :)

    Hi Stephcookie - It does have a lovely olde-world feel to it. Great design, I say! I love the feel of old buildings, or ones that are just made to look that way!

    Hi Ellie - Great idea. I have also seen a friend wrap prawns in hokkien noodle which was very simple but effective too.

    Hi Betty - Jane Austen indeed. The drawing room makes me want to swish my way around in a ballgown. lol.

    Hi divemummy - There's a lovely sense of calm and solitude, a rare thing these days in the city it seems!


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