Feel the ocean breeze as you walk towards this restaurant. Or rather feel the freezing wind and it hits your face. Days in Sydney are nice and warm, but when it gets to night, it becomes so cold. The boyfriend and I had been walking around the Opera House and Circular Quay before making our way to the restaurant. While the view is magnificent, it is being overshadowed by the fact that I am freezing and am making a beeline for the restaurant.
Ocean Room sits at the lowest level of the Overseas Passenger Terminal and next to Wildfire. Ocean Room is directly across the water from the Sydney Opera House and the views at night are just breathless.
The restaurant is easy to find and has entries on either ends of the restaurant to aid in easy access. The boyfriend and I were led through the restaurant from the entry facing the water to the other entrance where the bar area was. As I walked through the restaurant, I observed a group of Japanese businessmen playing drinking games, a group of Japanese businessmen talking about more serious issues and tables of couples. I love it when I see Japanese people in a Japanese restaurant, Chinese people in a Chinese restaurant, and so on. I truly believe that the restaurant is good as their own people eat there (does this make any sense?). It gives me a sense of relief that the restaurant’s target market isn’t just Caucasians and that they committed to the traditional with a twist of the modern.
We are seated in the bar area where there are long benches and high stools. I’m not a fan of sitting on stool, I always manage to hurt myself and there’s nowhere to put my bag (I refuse to put my bag on the floor). However, the stools were quite comfy and there was enough room under the bench for me to hang onto my bag without ending up in an awkward position. But a disadvantage to sitting at a bench, you can’t really talk to the people at the other end. I prefer round tables where you can see and hear everyone else.
We were also very close to the wine room where I could see shelves and shelves of wine stacked up on display. There was so much variety, enough to suit absolutely anyone. I’m not a big wine drinker but I was in awe when I saw the room.
As the rest of the gang was late, the boyfriend and I chatted about the decor of the place. I love the interior design of the restaurant. The clever use of wooden tubes/pipes to create a wooden chandelier, designed by internationally acclaimed designer Yasumichi Morita. It was quite a large chandelier that spread throughout the restaurant. Not only does it represent modernity, but it is used as a divider between the dining area and the bar area. It was funny to see an exceptionally tall waiter having to bend down or dodge this low hanging ‘chandelier’ every time he walked past it, but he’s probably used to it now.
It took half an hour, but finally everyone arrived and we ordered our drinks. It’s good to see that Ocean Room are willing to substitute a non-alcoholic drink for the Hennessy and Brown Brothers dessert wine that they had on offer. My friend jnyw from thefoodzoo opted for a hot chocolate. Unfortunately I didn’t get a photo of her hot chocolate (I didn’t want to steal it from her just to take a photo). But it did look very yummy. I chose the Brown Brother dessert wine.
Brown Brothers Dessert Wine
I didn’t really like this dessert wine. I suspect it was more of a sparkling white wine than a dessert wine. Do you see the bubbles? I though it tasted kind of plastic-y, but the boyfriend loved it. According to other blogs it was the same as the one served at Azuma, but I don’t think it was.
My best friend went for the strong stuff and ordered the Hennessy VS. I’m not a fan of hard liquor. I find it too overpowering and I spend the rest of the time trying to find something to wash out the taste.
Black Sesame Blancmange with Umeshu-Marinated Forest Berries
The blancmange was kind of like a panna cotta with a subtle black sesame flavour. This was sitting in a pool of creme anglaise (?).The forest berries were marinated in umeshu which is a plum wine. I enjoyed the tartness from the berries and the slight sweetness from the umeshu, it was a very good balance. The dessert was also served with a piece of sesame puff pastry which was light and offered another texture to the dish. The leeching berries stained the creme anglaise. 😦
The dessert was simple yet elegant, something that I would expect from somewhere like Ocean Room. The subtle flavours and textures worked together nicely to form this dish. I didn’t really enjoy the dessert wine but managed to drink it all as I thought it would start to grow on me, but it didn’t. The atmosphere was great. My friends and I saw there chatting after we had finished our desserts and there was no indication of the waiters trying to kick us out even though they were cleaning up the main dining area. I like how there was no pressure for us to leave, so we were able to soak up the environment even more. Ocean Room has great service and a great ambiance. It’s a Japanese restaurant with a modern twist to it that even the Japanese are willing to dine at. If they approve, so do I.
Happy nom nom nom-ing!
Ground Level, Overseas Passenger Terminal
Circular Quay West, The Rocks NSW 2000
T: (02) 9252 9585
It’s not actually in the water, but that’s where Google Maps shows it.