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Published November 30th 2019
Warning: don't read this article if you're hungry right now
Boasting a lovely harbour view, the Sailmaker Restaurant is conveniently located a stone's throw from the Pyrmont bridge. Amongst Sussex Street's beautiful old buildings, the Hyatt Regency stands out as sharp and modern.
Image Courtesy of Hyatt Regency Sydney
As we walked in through the lobby, the dim glow of the interior felt as though I was in an elegant, if not somewhat demure part of town. In some ways, it felt as though the building itself had morphed into what I imagine the inside of a giant ship to feel like. The service desks on either side were bustling with people checking in and out. To the immediate right, the elegant Lobby Bar was the perfect place to sit and wait for our reservation for the seafood buffet. This buffet was highly celebrated on the internet at the time of booking. As we relaxed in the lobby, I couldn't help but think about how lucky we were to be in such a stylish establishment for a mid-week date night. The service at the Lobby Bar itself was impeccable and our cocktails delicious.
We ventured upward and onward to our real destination: the famous Signature Seafood Buffet. What would it be like? Would it be worth it, even without a discount voucher?
Greeted by the friendly staff, we were taken to what felt like the perfect table. Although we were surrounded by many other patrons, we felt secluded and still had glimpses of the beautiful view outside. The staff could not be faulted in the slightest. They were attentive, clearing our seafood waste plate multiple times. At the same time, we were left alone to gorge ourselves as much as we had pleased.
Although the Sailmaker hosts several different options including the hotel's breakfast and dinner, special options include the Signature Lunch Table, High Tea, Sunday Seafood Lunch. Signature Dining Menu, the Experience Menu and even more; we have only tried the Signature Seafood Table, also known as the Chef's Table Buffet.
I'm not ashamed to say that I found out about the buffet via Groupon. The deal was an all-you-can-eat seafood buffet, priced at just $95 for two. Although I've heard about customers being treated poorly for being 'voucher customers' at other places, we were treated without prejudice (and very well, I might add) at the Sailmaker.
When it came to the seafood table, we were not disappointed. Now, I don't know how much one person should eat a buffet. In order to allow for guilt-free gluttony on the evening, I had actually completed an intermittent fast that day and was suitably starving.
The buffet itself divided into what ended up being four separate tables:
1. The Seafood Table*
2. The Hot Food Table*
3. The Salads and Sides Table*
4. The Dessert Table*
*presumably not their official names, please forgive me.
1. The Seafood Table
Oysters, mussels, octopus, prawns, more prawns and celebration for the barbarian within from the whole cooked salmon. Or in my case, guilt from its eyes still being in tact. All of the sauces you could imagine, fresh lemon, pickled ginger and wasabi. We weren't going to be silly and fill up on anything other than seafood, I thought. Besides, what else of interest could be there?
I gingerly wandered over to the corner of the room that had these mysterious steaming pots. I found things like varieties of bread that I am normally expressly forbidden from eating, butter, tempting chat potatoes, roast beef, fried rice, saucy pasta, butter chicken and a lovely seafood chowder. It felt as though I'd made a mistake filling up on seafood, but we did sample some of the hot food and it was lovely.
From cold meats and pickles to chips, dried fruit and freshly made salads - this table was diverse and impressive. There were several salads, wraps and varieties of cheese. Admittedly, we had eaten too much to sample this table but it did look scrumptious. If we weren't seafood-crazed that night and instead behaved like civilised individuals, there would be more to say.
Tarts, gateaus, brownies, ice-cream, fruit, freshly whipped cream, meringue, pie, M&M's, biscuits, jellybeans and much more. As people who have generally been trying to stay away from sweets, this felt like the diabetes table. The intensity of the flavours was so strong, it made sense that some of the pieces appeared to be somewhat small at first glance. This section was a little more hit-and-miss for us, because we aren't used to such decadent sweets. I could see how this would be heaven for a tempered sweet tooth.
The service of this establishment was simply fantastic. The variety was enough to satisfy most, with vegetarian options in addition to the core seafood buffet, and meat options for those who didn't like seafood. The price was fantastic, I think even acceptable without a voucher or discount. The location was great and allowed for a scenic walk to burn off at least something of the damage we did. I can say that we would definitely return, although most likely to try another of the signature chef tables. The ambience of the restaurant was lovely and it was a novelty going to a buffet. Props again to the fantastic staff for a memorable evening in a cute venue for a date.