I never noticed the Primus Hotel, but it’s apparently just got a refurb, and with it, a fancy new restaurant. The lobby in this place is insane. It was the old Sydney Water Board Building from around the late ’30s and it is BEAUTIFUL.
The menu is laid out simply: choose from 2 or 3 courses, with 4 choices in each category, some of which cost you extra. As the friend who I ate with, Peter, said, laughingly (he’s a professor of enterpreneurship), it’s the current business model: you want something special, you pay for it; there’s a basic cost, and then, like cars or flights, there are add-ons.
The food is beautifully presented. My octopus starter was almost fussy with its flowers and herbs. The grilled tentacles were tender and smokey; some tightly rolled sprouts in radish I actually found a bit too earthy.
I had a vegetarian lasagne as they were out of steak that night (if you only offer four mains, running out of one of them at the start of the evening is unfortunate), and I think the lasagne sheets were actually vegetables, not pasta. It was quite a nice dish; a rich imitation of a regular lasagne, with a twist.
We split desserts: a cheesecake with toffee and hazelnuts and a lemon cake. I thought desserts were a highlight. Great combos, the taste of them (delicious) took precedence over the presentation, though beautiful. Peter, by the way, gave rave reviews to both of his savoury courses (a beef brisket, and a barramundi).
Our waiter was lovely and gentle. We liked him. And the big surprise of the night was that they were offering a deal to Entertainment Book customers, and food was 50%. So for a very classy three course meal, and a glass of wine each (actually, I had two), and the total was $90 without a tip. That value is unheard of in Sydney, but I’ll happy to come back here at regular prices. I want to show my husband that beautiful lobby (it would be a great place for a cocktail with a bit more buzz, a few more people and some lower lights).