As the French say about French cuisine "Ce n'est pas de la tarte"– it's not a piece of cake. Quay West Suites Sydney may look like your usual 5-star hotel, but the dining experience offered at Quartier Bistro and Bar located on the mezzanine floor is anything but.
You may note that there is no signage outside this hidden gem, due to strict requirements set by Council, until you walk through the foyer of 98 Gloucester. Glimpsing a simple sign up a set of stairs, my dining partner and I wandered in to have lunch. We were immediately greeted by the friendly Vino and escorted to a corner table complete with cosy lounge and velvet cushions.
The sounds of the city construction disappeared and were replaced by relaxing melodies transporting us to some peaceful French quarters admiring our surrounds with glasses of William Fevre Petit Chablis in hand. We ordered an entrée of grilled king prawns and the crème d'avocat et sauman fume (avocado cream and smoked salmon). The garlic prawns were chargrilled to perfection with knobs of garlic buttery goodness.
The presentation of the salmon looked too good to dig in, you'll see what I mean when you see the pictures. The crispbread added a crunchy element offsetting the smooth avocado and mild taste of the salmon.
My partner opted for the grilled barramundi with crispy skin served on a colourful bed of shaved fennel and cabbage salad topped with vierge dressing of chopped tomatoes, chives, olive oil, lemon juice and anise flavoured liqueur Penrod. Both dishes were divine and cooked too well as my dining partner didn't want to share.
Of course, there is always room for dessert, a quick glance at the top two options decided it for me. Vanilla crème brulee delivered with an irresistible crisp burnt sugar crust, cracking the caramelised sugar into a rich custard was absolute heaven.
I wished I could fit in the deconstructed mud brownies with vanilla bean ice cream and mixed berry compote syringe. With coffees in tow, I was planning my next visit to this hidden gem in The Rocks looking onto the ever-changing Sydney skyline.
Quartier bistro and bar
Quartier Bistro and Bar offers a tranquil French dining experience with a simple menu focussing on French favourites and quality ingredients. As its name suggests Quartier is French for 'neighbourhood'. If you're a passer-by or local, Quartier will feel like time has stopped momentarily over the course of a meal showcasing really good home cooking. It did remind me that nine years have passed since I've last been to France - that will have to change, I think.