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The Gantry Bar and Restaurant: Pier One, Sydney

By:
Joanna Hall
 

Pier One (formerly the Sebel) is one of Sydney's great romantic getaway luxury hotels, blessed with one of the most sublime locations on the Sydney Harbour foreshore, so it's only fitting that it would also have a prime dining venue for guests and visitors alike. The Gantry is the property's new revamped bar and restaurant, which is headed up by an ex-Gordon Ramsay head chef, and offers a combination of harbourside dining and a menu of top quality modern-Australian cuisine.

The location and decor:

The Gantry Bar occupies an airy space at the back of the reception area, with commanding harbour views through floor-to-ceiling windows. The central square shaped bar takes pride of place with high stools around it so you can sit up close to the action, or there are easy chairs and tables off to the sides for a more intimate cocktail experience. The decor is polished wood flooring, soft under bar lighting, with plenty of natural light during the day and muted lighting at night. A feature is the cocktail menu, which has been crafted with a focus on native an botanical ingredients. Signature cocktails include an El Gantry, which is Tequila Blanco swizzled with homemade blueberry and native herbs and sweetened with freshly pressed pineapple juice, and a Storm Rider, a homemade ginger beer brewed with wattleseed, fresh lime and Gosling's dark rum.

The restaurant is located to the left of the bar and follows a similar style including original features from the hotel structure. It was revamped by Bates Smart, an architectural team which has drawn on the industrial roots of Pier One, fusing an element of rawness in the stone pillars with a polished, contemporary finish in its wooden flooring. It also has part fridge/part display cabinets in the market kitchen style, tables and chairs which are well spaced out for privacy, and there's also an open kitchen. The restaurant has a decent al fresco area which is open air in the summer, and tented in winter with heaters, so you can still maximise the view in the colder months.

The menu:

You'd expect a head chef who is ex-Gordon Ramsay and was also a personal chef for the über celebrity Beckhams to be a combination of creative and a perhaps a tad daring. Chris Irving hails from Canada and worked alongside Ramsay for four years, and is known for his love of Australian agriculture and seafood which he says has an undisputed reputation as being among the best in the world. His culinary attitude is taking regional, season and sustainable food and creating beautiful and uncomplicated dishes. We'd already read about standout dishes including Venison Tartare, Spanner Crab with bergamot and green apple, and grilled Cone Bay Barramundi, and its series of sharing dishes such as a 24-hour slow cooked Mirrool Creek Lamb Shoulder and 1.2kg grain fed dry-aged Tomahawk steak with roasted garlic and farm fresh vegetables.

The menu, however, had an impressive lineup of other tempting dishes we were keen to try. Top of our list to start were some goodies from the seafood counter, including a delicious whole Moreton Bay bug, and Coorong pipis, both of which were as fresh as they come, and cooked to perfection. The main course choice was a little tougher as there were many appealing concepts to whet the appetite. In the end, I went for a delicious Jumjum muscovy duck, served with Hawkesbury carrots and cabbage topped with a citrus glaze, while my partner couldn't resist the cooked-to-perfection Jack's Creek rib eye, served with watercress, horseradish and spiced port. A Rocket and Annie Baxter buffalo milk cheese salad rounded things off. The Gantry also has a quality wine list with lovely varieties by the glass from NV Moët Chandon Champagne to a 2012 Tewazas Malbec, and bottles ranged from easy drinking whites and reds to some classy and rare varieties.

The verdict:

Even if you're not a guest of the hotel this is a wonderful venue to dine at for both the views, the informal yet efficient service, and the top notch cuisine. It's ideal for a romantic dinner or a special occasion, and as a bonus there's parking if you need it, and it's open daily for lunch and dinner.

We have a full hotel review of Pier One Sydney Harbour for you to enjoy.

For more information, visit www.thegantry.com.au, or call 02 8298 9910.

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