A mecca for casual or a working luncheon, to fine dining by the water or ending the day with sundowner cocktails on the deck. The Gantry Restaurant & Bar has a place for every tastebuds. Even stay for the weekend at Pier One Sydney Harbour hotel and enjoy the culinary journey at Chef Chris Irving’s famous restaurant in Walsh Bay.
Hotel restaurants don’t always get the best rap. Burdened by too many years of international cuisine, too expensive and not inspiring food. Canadian Chef Chris Irving has learnt to be fearful with Australia’s high-quality fresh produce on offer. This is an exciting contribution to modern food. Chef’s passion has always been about sourcing sustainability ingredients, to create an innovated food experience and stripping complex menu creations. “Let the natural flavours of the dish shine, and the ingredients follow through”
Chef training is nothing but immaculate and his talent is known by elite circles in the industry. Previously with the Gordon Ramsay Group for four years to manage the highest standard of quality and consistency at each of their 12 London locations, such as The Savoy Grill, York & Albany and Bread Street Kitchen. Has been a private Chef to the Beckham family, cooking for Her Majesty The Queen of England and consultant to the Spanish Royal Familia. An achievement many of us can only dream of.
The Gantry Restaurant and Bar, is in the heart of Walsh Bay, situated on the ground floor of Pier One Sydney Harbour, part of Marriott hotels’ Autograph Collection. The interior draws in raw architectural structure and materials of the former shipping fingerwharf. The restaurant has a sense of calm and quality as it effortless connects with guests and the island bar captures a visual presence with the water directly behind.
The inviting evening service provided gave it that genial vibe, and the dark lighting sets the mood – don’t mind me, but it a great first date or anniversary venue. There’s a perfect selection of wine and champagne to match the food, including a small cocktail list that packs flavour; suggest trying the Lady on the Pier and The Grape Escape. Unsure of the wines? Just ask for a Sommelier to help with the matching. We ordered a glass of the 2012 Yal Yal Chardonnay for our seafood feast to start and the 2012 Provenance Golden Plains Pinot Noir for the mains.
During our visit, Chef surprised us with ½ dozen of freshly shucked oysters as a pre-dinner treat. From the South Coast, Thatra, Pambula and Merimbula oysters – I particularly enjoyed the Merimbula for is fat plump texture that went down well with the shallots & black pepper mignonette.
Order a selection from the seafood counter to start off with. It will help you better understand what Chef is actually all about, produce-driven food. Tender, juicy and full-flavoured seafood – chilled QLD King Prawns with fresh lemon and homemade grilled garlic butter focaccia bread; Kinkawooka Mussels, Hervey Bay Scallops; and Balmain Bugs. If you are over the whole seafood platter, come here and order your own board, and indulge in this ocean feast. It’s unbelievably comforting. All it is missing for me is chilli mussels and I’ll be a regular diner here.
The seafood dishes were cooked perfectly and pleasingly rustic or earthy. These dishes stayed cleared of the heavy sauces you would normally be accustomed to and please – get away from the deep-fried, you heard me. Seafood is meant to be served fresh or grilled with light flavours that don’t overpower the dish – let the ocean sing to you.
For our mains, we went from healthy eating to got to try this approach. The Coorong pipis – steamed with ginger, garlic and shallots. The Jumjum Muscovy duck is careful placed over the purslane salad garnished with Cooks Co-op roasted carrots – the crispy skinned duck is succulent and the citrus glaze adds a hint of sweetness to the dish. To our side, it was difficult not to resist the Duck Fat Roasted Chat and the Tarwin blue cheese, fig and prosciutto salad – it’s beautifully simple and the perfect sideshow to the richer mains.
It is a great reminder that Chef takes an effortless approach to ensuring guests has an appreciation of where the food comes from and how the quality of the ingredients takes top grade. The restaurant approximately seats 60 people inside and a further 60 on the waterfront deck and features an open-style kitchen and a Chef’s table.
Skipping to the dessert, the Ebenezer goat’s milk pudding and Fresh Austral Figs. The pudding serves to get a bit of everything in one mouthful – it all blends brilliantly, with a taste that’s homemade on a plate. Figs were served with a white chocolate mousse, drizzled with Riesling syrup – a nice touch with the addition of thyme to break the sweetness of the chocolate.
I think I found my favourite restaurant by far, The Gantry Restaurant & Bar. The food speaks for itself, and having the opportunity to have a quick chat and laugh with Chef Chris Irving was great. Not only, have I met a person who’s so passionate about food, but it’s about creating a culinary journey for everyone to experience.
Thanks Chef, hope to catch up soon.
The Gantry Restaurant & Bar
11 Hickson Rd,
Walsh Bay NSW 2000
Bookings: +61 (02) 8298 9910
Lunch 12 noon – 2.30pm
Dinner 6pm – 10pm