I am determined to make good use of my Entertainment Book / Card this year, the last time I bought the book I hardly use it at all :P
Picking which of the fine dining offers to use first is not easy, after many email exchanges we finally settled upon Astral.
|Menu ; Dining Room|
Astral Restaurant is located on the 17th Floor of the casino with an amazing view of the city.
As I stepped into the restaurant, the cylinders of glass hanging down the ceiling immediately caught my attention...they were so pretty. The dining room is vast with high ceilings, crisp white linen covering the tables and the big comfy armchairs to sit on. The sofa like dining chair really comes in handy later on in the night when all you want to do is just slouch after eating too much *_^
|View from our table|
Perhaps when I called up to make a reservation for a table for two they assume it was for a romantic dinner as were we seated on a table with an amazing view of the city :P
It was sadly not a romantic dinner, it's just me and a girlfriend who loves eating too hahahahaha !
Guavanilla Squeeze & Passionable
Since there were only 2 mocktails choices from the bar menu, we ordered one of each to try.
My Guavanilla Squeeze is a concoction of strawberries, lime & guava juice charged with vanilla gomme (sugar syrup emulsified with gum arabic to give a smooth texture).
The other mocktail, Passionable, is made of fresh grapefruit, lime, passionfruit sweetened with sugar syrup, muddled then topped off with Red Bull. I forgot to ask my friend whether she managed to sleep soundly that night with that Red Bull in her drink LOL.
|Cylinders of Cold Butter ; Multigrain Bread|
Not long after our drinks were brought over, the waiter returned carting a table of various loaves of freshly baked bread. The smell of fresh bread is just so intoxicating *sigh*.
The bread was sliced to order and it was hard to pick which one to try as they all looked so good, but I thought I'll opt for something more healthy, the multigrain.
I love how the cold butter is shaped in long cylinders instead of the usually rounds, they just looked more "posh" that way hehehe :)
We decided to go for the degustation menu which was comprised of 8 courses plus petit fours and tea or coffee to finish the meals.
First up is the amuse bouche of cauliflower veloute with croutons & truffle oil.
The veloute is creamy and velvety, the bits of crunchy croutons added texture to the soup.
|Glass Dome of Chamomile Smokes|
The next dish had such theatrical effects, big glass dome entrapping the smoke on the white plate.
Unfortunately the dome on my plate had slid on the way to the table, so I didn't get the smoke on mine *sob*
Not too worry, I inhaled the smoke from my friend's plate as the waitress lifted the domes :)
|Marinated Smoked Salmon, Isigny Creme Fraiche, Pea Tendrils, Chamomile Pearls & Chamomile Smoke|
And voila ! Under the dome you have slices of glistening smoked salmon that has been infused with the chamomile smoke to enhance the flavours.
I must say, the chamomile smoke is amazing, throughout the night whenever we caught a whiff of the smoke from other tables, we stopped to inhale it once again :P
The smoked salmon had such delicate flavours, while the Isigny creme fraiche was more on the heavier side. The chamomile pearls doesn't have much of chamomile flavours to them, I actually didn't realize what they were until I read the menu again.
|Crispy Toasts for the salmon|
|Pan Seared Scallop |
Jerusalem Arthicoke, Fresh Australian Truffle and Veloute
The perfectly pan seared scallop is served on a pool of veloute, topped with thinly sliced Jerusalem artichoke, a slice of black truffle and a drizzle of truffle oil to finish.
The scallop was sweet and tender, although I found that its delicate flavour was masked by the creamy veloute. The Jerusalem artichoke however was refreshing and helped lighten up the dish a little.
|View of Sydney Harbour|
I had to take a walk for a while as I'm starting to feel full already and we had 6 more courses to got -__-;
There is an outdoor deck area where you get another amazing view of the city, this time with Harbour Bridge in the picture.
|Private Dining Room|
Astral's private dining room is sort of detached from the main dining room as it is located on the deck area where you get an unobstructed view of the city skylines. Love the copper lights that is hanging over the big long wooden table as well.
( Back into the dining room as it was freezing outside *brrrrrr* !!)
|Pumpkin Risotto Aquerello|
Sage & Onion Mousse
Maybe I'm biased because I am not a fan of risotto, but this is the least of my favourite of the night.
The risotto I felt was too heavy and quite sweet because it's pumpkin and the onion mousse had quite strong aroma that was overpowering.
|Redgate Farm Jumbo Quail|
Tofu, Foie Gras, Young Spinach Puree, Shiso Vinaigrette
As odd as it may have sounded when you see tofu and foie gras together on a plate, they actually worked quite well together. The combination of the silky tofu and the creamy foie gras was just wonderful. The quail was nicely caramelised on the outside while still tender and soft on the inside. The young spinach puree was surprisingly very bitter and must be eaten together with the other components, otherwise it would just be unbearable.
|Certified Angus Beef|
Hollandaise, King Mushroom, Miso Seeded Mustard & Jus Gras
I love this course the best, there were so many interesting flavours and textures on the one plate.
The thick tenderloin was resting on the king mushroom's stem, then topped with creamy hollandaise sauce. The meat was cooked medium rare as I have requested.
Then you have what looked like sands on the plate. The waiter explained it as crumbed Jamon Iberico (the Spanish cured ham made from mainly black Iberian pig) mixed with some crumbed crispy croutons.
I liked it, slightly salty and crispy :)
It's cute how they put the mushroom "cap" on the pont neuf, thick cut fries, to resemble a mushroom :)
When the top is lifted off, you'd find that the fries has been hollowed and filled with delicious mushroom creme.
That was a lovely dish to end the savoury courses.
Nutella Ice Cream in Chocolate Waffle Cone
For pre-dessert, we had super cute mini ice cream cones ! Resting on a glass stand, a chocolate waffle cone with nutella ice cream.
It tasted...well...just like nutella :)
Compressed Mandarin Segments & Soup, Lemon Balm & Hibiscus Jelly, Popping Candy
The waiter poured over the mandarin soup over the mandarin sorbets, compressed segments and the hibiscus jelly on the table. As the soup was poured over, everything went fizzy and foaming !
That's not all, he then proceed with sprinkling some popping candy over the dessert !!
So there you have it, a foaming, fizzing and popping citrusy dessert that was so much fun to eat :)
|Compressed Mandarin Segment|
The dessert was very refreshing which was really a good choice to end the quite heavy and creamy degustation. The best part is, the popping candy somehow doesn't stop popping until the very last spoonful. Which was to my surprise as I would expect the popping to stop not long after it has come in contact with the soup.
|Petit Fours & Sugar Sticks|
Hazelnut Chilli , Orange Peel, Dark Choc Truffles
Thankfully the petit fours were petit :) We were so full and was worried we couldn't eat any more food.
Who am I kidding...I have a second stomach especially reserved for sweets.
|Pretty Sugar Sticks|
Instead of sugar cubes or rocks, the tea and coffee comes with these pretty sugar sticks that I've always wanted to get when I first saw them in TWG Tea Salon in Singapore. But the price tags that comes with it just doesn't justify the purchase, it is after all just rock sugar on a wooden stick :D
My friend on the other hand could not resist having the sugar sticks. She had green tea and with each cup she poured out, she used one sugar stick !
The funny thing is, she doesn't even like having sugar with her tea. Just for the sake of using the sugar sticks, that night was an exception LOL
|Coffee & Tea|
Overall it was a wonderful dinner, the service was impeccable throughout the night, the waiters had good knowledge of the foods served , friendly and yet professional at the same time.
The flavours and components of the dishes were well put together and we had thoroughly enjoyed them.
Not to mention dining with an amazing view of Sydney :)
Astral is the perfect choice to impress someone special or if you are looking for a place to impress important business clients.
|Horse Lamp (Mizuya's horse lamp's brother ?)|