I wanted to try Pei Modern the last time I was down in Melbourne, but as luck would have it, Pei Modern has also opened up in Sydney now and is located in the lobby of the Four Seasons Hotel at the Rocks.
The chef behind Pei Modern is the well regarded Mark Best of Marque in Surry Hills. Pei Modern’s focus is on seasonal fresh produce for contemporary bistro dining. The décor is sleek and polished, with an open kitchen as a centrepiece, complete with marbled benches. However, since the restaurant is open to the lobby of the Four Seasons, it does feel more like a hotel lounge rather than a proper restaurant.
The menu is simple, with a mix of entrees, mains or share dishes and we end up opting for some from each part of the menu to share between 3. To start, we had the Salumi plate which featured slices of Longaniza (a type of peppery Spanish sausage similar to chorizo) and Pork and Fennel sausage, which I wasn’t a fan of because of the liquorice-like flavour of fennel.
Our other entrée to share was the Kingfish “Ham from the Sea” which lived up to its name with a lovely smoked flavour that really did make this distinctive tasting fish taste a lot like ham! We were pretty impressed and it was a hit with our table.
Kingfish “Ham from the Sea”, $16
We moved onto the mains with the Casarecce and Chicken Dumplings which was a hearty dish featuring long, narrow, twisted tubes of pasta in a thin gravy-like sauce with chicken dumplings (more meatball-like than Chinese dumplings) that had a surprise offal centre. It wasn’t what I was expecting as I’m not a fan of offal, but the boy didn’t seem to mind it.
Casarecce, Chicken Dumplings and Reggiano, $35
My preferred main was the Salmon Tail cooked on the bone, with the soft pink flesh falling apart as we cut into it. It was a simple dish and executed quite well with a tasty rouille sauce on the side, paired with tomatoes and samphire.
Salmon Tail, $40
On the side, we also ordered Sebago hand-cut chips which were crunchy and satisfying (they went well with the rouille for the Salmon Tail for extra flavour).
Sebago hand-cut chips, $10
The Butter Lettuce with chardonnay vinegar and new seasons olive oil we ordered to meet our greens quota for the day wasn’t particularly remarkable though unfortunately.
Butter lettuce, $10
The desserts were lovely – we had a perfectly formed Meringue with White Chocolate Ganache and tart blueberries, which was a crunchy cloud of delight and we also tried the famous Mark Best dessert of the classic Duck Egg Sauternes Custard and Crostoli. The silky smooth custard infused with French sweet wine and has been delicately placed back into an actual little egg, ready for the fried pastry ribbons of crostoli to be dipped in.
Duck Egg Sauternes Custard and Crostoli, $17
All in all, Pei Modern was a pleasant dining experience but there were a few surprise dishes which didn’t quite hit the mark. The dishes at Pei Modern are certainly on the pricey end of the spectrum, but true to their philosophy, Pei Modern use high quality produce and the pricing is in line with the expected range for a hotel restaurant.
199 George Street, Sydney NSW 2000
Ph: (02) 9250 3160