Nicola McClean takes her seat at Table 100 to discover how this Park Hyatt Sydney culinary journey is pushing the boundaries of fine dining presentation.
To step inside Park Hyatt Sydney, one of the Harbour City’s most prestigious hotels, is to follow in the footsteps of Sir Elton John, Michael Bublé and Tom Cruise, all of whom have stayed at this waterfront icon. As lovely as it would be be checking in, we are instead here to sample the delights of the hotel’s intriguing new culinary experience. In The Dining Room, we are greeted by unrivalled views of the glistening harbour, the Opera House shining through the floor-to-ceiling windows, and take our seats at our table: Table 100.
Executive chef Etienne Karner and pastry chef Shlomi Palensya created this immersive culinary experience to push the boundaries of how fine dining can be presented. It’s a mixture of art, theatre and gourmet extravagance, and we have no idea what exactly is in store.
The three-course experience is designed to be shared, and the FEED ME menu takes guests on a gastronomical journey, accompanied by sommelier-selected wine.
The Table 100 experience begins
As the Opera House turns a gentle blush with the sunset, our entrées arrive. Placed in a sporadic yet calculated fashion on the table, the five dishes sing on the plates, and the palate. Sydney rock oysters with shallot and red wine mignonette; soft burrata that spills out when cut to be enjoyed with confit fennel, crispy olives, grapefruit and puffed wild rice; and air-dried 99.9% pure David Blackmore Wagyu beef are among the highlights.
The artistic creations continue into the main course, where succulent proteins are served alongside a variety of the finest seasonal produce. A mildly sweet Cone Bay barramundi with miso carrot, koji purée and carrot-top sauce vierge is perfect to begin before easing into charred Muscovy duck breast paired with an unusual combination of raisin and coffee purée and roasted nashi pear bound to surprise the tastebuds in the most delightful way. Sides include butternut pumpkin with grilled nectarines, roasted beet salad and pan-seared broccolini.
The real main course
Outside, the moon is now bold and the city lights twinkle on the harbour before us. Within the dimly lit dining room, sous pastry chef, Caroline Beato arrives. Tonight Beato is our Table 100 artist, showcasing her unique style in a live cooking demonstration for the real main course: dessert. Beato has an array of individual ingredients on a tray beside her and a large square of glass is placed on our table. Beato begins her masterpiece.
She seems to be doing an elegant and impressive dance before us, painting handmade condiments, nut butters and edible glitter on the table. Gelati and sorbet, an Opera House passionfruit cheesecake, chocolate coffee tart and semifreddo brûlée are among the stars of the artwork, while a giant chocolate egg serves as the centerpiece, almost too good to eat. Almost.
Dozens of photos are taken of the masterpiece until Beato pulls out a hammer and gazes down at the Easter-themed giant chocolate egg. Within three strikes, the lustrous surface is cracked open to reveal a mystical layer of dried ice, macarons, cookies, chocolate mousse and countless other sweet treats. This is the ultimate sensory indulgence.