Having checked into our room at the Hilton and gathered our bearings, with the inclement weather we decided not to stray too far for lunch but instead venture into the on-site Luke Mangan restaurant, Glass Brasserie
The restaurant itself is quite an impressive sight, soaring ceilings, large windows that overlook the Queen Victoria Building, it's hard to believe that the work dates from 2005.
That imposing structure is the wine cellar and it acts as a divide between the brasserie and the Glass Wine Bar.
We're seated against this wine wall and virtually in center of the restaurant space, to the left we have a view towards the open kitchen
and to the right, more dining space
To aid the perpetually confused they even helpfully label the glasswear.
Hmm, that was funnier at the time, I guess you just had to be there.
After perusing the rather large menu we decided that it involved too much thinking and opted instead for the degustation.
Everyone gets excellent crusty bread and Luke Mangan©® Olive oil and they will happily replenish the supply.
We did have to make another decision - the wine and Paalo could not resist going for the Oz Clarke recommended Ridge Wines.
A mighty fine drop too - the 2005 Zinfandel.
Gourgere of foie gras and truffle - we're off with a bang, two of our favourite ingredients in one tasty bite.
From bottom to top - Scallop, Kingfish, Salmon, Tuna, Prawn, Eel
I know Rockpool does a "four raw tastes of the sea"which is quite fabulous but this dish easily surpassed it. My only quibble, the chopsticks, not Japanese but Chinese making it a little more difficult in picking up the various elements, rounded ends rather than pointed.
The idea of the dish was a very good one but what we were served fell short in execution. Parts of this didn't work - the vinegar level in the dressing really overwhelmed the dish, would have been nicer if the egg was warm/hot rather than cool/cold; couldn't taste the foie gras. A shame since the quail was excellent.
This isn't a dish I would normally order based on its description but I would have missed out on a really excellent dish. The XO sauce is top notch and brings so much to the dish, the elements all come together in perfect harmony.
We had to look twice but look it's Luke Mangan!
He's answering the phone but more than that, he was in the kitchen too.
Couldn't help but think that maybe some Melbourne based "celebrity masterchefs" should take note and spend more time in their kitchens and less time whining.
I'm not a huge Lamb fan but this was quite pleasant - really good flavours that all worked well.
For the cheese course, you get to select from a really good range of cheese and we went for the blue and and the washed rind. They are served with an assortment of bread and crackers, grapes and absolutely to die for truffle honey - I know people look down on truffle honey and won't touch it but good, means there is more for us.
The cheesecake has that nice tang from the yoghurt and is quite light in texture. Rather refreshing combination that doesn't weigh you down.
Service was a bit patchy at times when the pressure was on but it's understandable given the nature of the venue. Food, apart from what I've mentioned was really very good and that sashimi selection had us seriously considering returning that night to have it again!
Level 2, 488 George Street
Phone: +61 2 9265 6068
Monday-Friday: 6am to 10am
Saturday-Sunday: 7am to 11am
Monday-Friday: 12pm to 3pm
Monday-Sunday: 6pm to late