Even though we’ve been to Pei Modern in Melbourne, I kept forgetting its provenance: the famed chef Mark Best of Marque opening a more casual eatery in Melbourne and now a branch has opened in Sydney at the Four Seasons.
It has an interesting feel to it, being in a hotel lobby. Grand and spacious, quite stylish, and for this pre-theatre meal, a really eclectic mix of diners, including many who look like they just walked down from their hotel rooms, one table in gym clothes, others in sturdy tourist-wear. Each of the first four staff had charming European accents (mostly French I think) before a rather enthusiastic young Aussie took over.
I really think that the style of food is distinct. There is a focus on a few ingredients, no foamy sauces or tricks, no smears on the plate or artful scattering. The burrata (top) with roasted romanesco brocolli, a generous portion of dill, I think mustard seeds (in honey?) and tiny circles of green apple was fantastic. Oh, and a hibiscus flower.
The sashimi above was beautiful, and interesting, and we thought that we would have liked a little more of the rhubarb (tiny pieces on top) and less of the ginger.
For the mains, I had ricotta dumplings with zucchini flowers, grilled perfectly: delicious. The pine nuts were ground so coarsely that we both thought it was a grain that we hadn’t tried before, but the waiter let us in on the secret.
This steak, with grilled king oyster mushrooms and a dollop of thick red sauce (uh, was it peri peri, or no, I think it was middle eastern influenced) was so freaking god. My god. We had no room for dessert (nor would we have, even if it wasn’t a pre-theatre meal).
Although I was really very impressed with the meal, the strange thing is that I found it so rich that I wouldn’t have been able to finish the whole plate of dumplings, nor the entire steak. Lucky for us that we switched plates half way through which provided us with that variation, a break from the intensity.
I definitely give it a thumbs up, and it’s easy to make a reservation online through Open Table. Give it a try and leave a comment as to what you thought!