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 ginger
Right: 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!).
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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
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1/02/2008 11:13:00 p.m.