When I think ‘Sydney Olympic Park’, I think concerts and special events, a large swimming pool and a small business park. Amongst all this are some hotels and little did I know that inside the Pullman Hotel would be a restaurant serving up 5-star quality food.
Headed up by Chef Gary Howieson, Bacar Restaurant presents a seasonal fine dining menu which is mainly Modern Australian with some Asian influences and experimental flavours. On top of this, each dish is presented immaculately like a piece of artwork and looks almost too good to eat (emphasis on ‘almost’). Today we’re dining from the lunch menu which is a shortened version of the dinner menu. It’s not particularly busy on this Saturday lunch session but on nights of concerts and sporting events, they tend to book out so it’s best to plan ahead.
Seared Scallops, Guava Gel, Serrano Ham, Pomegranate, Goats Curd, Sourdough Crumbs – $28
To start off our entrees, I get the seared scallops which are seared perfectly with a slight brown crust on the outside, but soft and translucent inside. I love the pomegranate on the dish which provides a fruity burst with each bite. When I spotted the goats curd, I was worried it would be too strong but it was actually quite subtle and went well with the saltiness of the ham.
Grilled Quail, Asian Mushroom, Water Chestnut, Mizuna, Cashew Nut Puree, Master Stock – $27
Next came the quail which was very tender and had great natural flavours from the grill. It contrasted well with the crunchy chestnuts, but I wasn’t a huge fan of the cashew nut puree and think the quail actually tasted better without it.
Baby Heirloom Vegetable Garden, Roquefort, Carrot Gel, Truffled Honey, Walnut Candy – $24
The third entree on the menu is a lighter option of vegetables presented in an interesting manner – the vegies were “hopping” off the plate. Highlights included the candied walnuts which added some sweetness to the beetroot and carrots. Personally I’m not a huge fan of roquefort cheese though which can be quite strong and I think it detracted from the natural flavours of the vegetables.
Seared Duck Breast, Elements of Raspberry, Dutch Carrot, Pistachio Dust, Spiced Wine – $42
After this we moved onto mains and I opted for the seared duck breast. It was nice and pink and I loved that it was a generous cut of meat as well! The pistachio and spiced wine sauce added a ton of flavours, but I wasn’t a huge fan of the raspberry as I thought the duck was good enough on its own.
200gm Angus Beef Fillet, Skordalia, Autumn Vegetables, Foie Gras Butter, Marrow Fritter – $49
For our other main we got the beef fillet cooked to medium. So many restaurants stuff up steaks but Bacar cooked it perfectly medium and the tenderness was a testament to the high quality fillet. The skordalia paired up nicely instead of the usual mash and the fritter added a crispy difference when you got tired of chewing on meat.
Crisp Skin Barramundi, Cucumber Remoulade, Edible Flowers, Squid Ink Paint, Fennel – $42
None of us tried the barramundi but I managed to get a snap of it anyways. Based off the presentation alone, it looked absolutely stunning with the squid ink and flowers providing a colourful contrast on the plate.
Chocolate Fondant, Miso Curd, Black Sesame Ice-cream, Goji Berry Gel, Raspberry – $24
We were getting quite full by this stage but who could say no to dessert! I opted for the chocolate fondant and was particularly interested by how the Asian ingredients would work on the plate. The fondant had a perfect gooey warm centre and it suited the black sesame ice cream which wasn’t too sweet so that it cut through the rich chocolate flavours. The miso curd was thick and was highly reminiscent of a salted caramel sauce due to the saltiness. Once again, I wasn’t a fan of the raspberry as part of the dish though and it seemed a bit out of place with all the other rich flavours.
Three Way Crushed Meringue, Pineapple Gel, Guava Jelly, Freeze Dried Plum, Basil Cream – $22
The other dessert we got was highly recommended by the Bacar team and is only available on the dinner menu but we were fortunate enough to be able to order it for lunch. There was three types of meringues here – liquorice,raspberry and plain, and it provided an interesting variety of crunchy flavours. Nibbling at meringues alone started getting a bit too sweet for me and I was a bit sceptical of the savoury basil cream present throughout, but it provided a nice alternative to balance out all the sweetness.
Overall, Bacar Restaurant has demonstrated that it’s not just a hotel restaurant, but rather a fine dining restaurant which can stand on its own feet. The presentation of all the dishes were some of the most artistic, extravagant and finest I have ever seen. Most of the flavours worked, but I think some of the experimental flavours could have been left off the plate as sometimes doing too much can be a detraction. I found the pricing also a bit steep, especially since Sydney Olympic Park isn’t known for being a foodie area and that for a bit more you can get a nice degustation in the CBD, but if you’re ever in the area or have an event to head to at night Bacar Restaurant is worth giving a go.
Excuse Me Waiter dined as guests
Bacar Restaurant (inside The Pullman Hotel)
Cnr Herb Elliot Ave and Olympic Boulevard
Sydney Olympic Park NSW 2127
Ph: (02) 8762 7959