I’ve walked through Darling Harbour many times and have always noticed the big Novotel Hotel towering behind Harbourside Shopping Centre, but have never really thought of it as a dining destination. So when we were asked to check out their new restaurant, I was a bit sceptical about whether it would just be another hotel restaurant, or whether it would be able to stand on its own two feet.
The Ternary is a new restaurant that opened last month inside Novotel, on the same floor as reception. Getting there can be a bit tricky, and I found it simpler to just walk across Pyrmont Bridge and take a back road. My dining companion however walked through Harbourside, through a carpark, got a bit lost, and kept wandering until she found reception.
Once you walk in, you’re greeted by high ceilings, wall length windows and a sweeping view of the city skyline. The open plan restaurant always gives you views of their three dining offerings – the Grill Kitchen, the Asian Kitchen and the Wine Bar. I particularly like how the kitchens also have counter seats, so you can really interact with the chef if you’re lucky enough to be seated there.
Tonight we’re treated to a tasting menu and start off with some toasted naan bread with chutney and a spiced yoghurt on the side. A tasty nibbler while we waited for the entrees.
Betel Leaves of Smoked Flaked Salmon with Salmon Pearls
Our first entree was the betels leaves with salmon. Pretty simple and light, but I found the salmon not particularly smoky.
The Ternary’s Fish 65 with Mint Yoghurt
The next dish featured fish which looked deceptively like tandoori chicken. This was soft, succulent and coated beautifully with spices. It was accompanied with the same spicy yoghurt which we had earlier with the naan bread and it added a nice kick.
Seared Tuna with Somen Noodle Salad and Toasted Sesame Seed Dressing
The tuna came out next, sitting on a small mound of somen noodles. It was seared really well and was another light entree. That sesame dressing was the winner on the plate, complementing the tuna and noodles perfectly. I only wish it came in a little bowl or on the tuna because it was hard to scoop off the platter.
Lamb Kofta Kebabs with Herb Salad, Mint and Pomegranate Yoghurt
Onto some heavier proteins, the lamb kofta kebab was served in a lettuce wrap reminiscent of Asian cuisine. That spiced yoghurt makes an appearance again (yum!) and it complements the lamb beautifully. I really like how the pomegranate also adds a splash of fruitiness. It’s a bit messy to eat but definitely finger licking good.
Grilled Cajun King Prawns with Toasted Corn
The king prawns were a crowd pleaser across the table. Big, succulent and juicy, the head falls off to reveal already peeled prawns. It was so good I even went back for seconds!
Pulled Peppered Beef in Crispy Pastry and Water Chestnut
Next up was a dish featuring pulled beef presented in a spring roll type fashion. The beef is meant to have a marble score of 9 and is slow cooked until it falls apart. You can’t really appreciate the marbling given that it’s been pulled apart and then fried in a spring roll, but it is tasty, especially with the tamarind jam on the plate.
Rajasthan Banjara Murg Masala Western Indian Chicken Curry
I was sceptical about The Ternary’s ability to do a good curry. I mean they had already gone through various cuisines in the previous dishes, and producing an authentic, tasting Indian curry would normally seem a stretch for one restaurant. But they did it, and it was fantastic. Aromatic, full of spices and flavours, that chicken absorbed heaps of flavour and I devoured this with the side of basmati rice.
Slow Cooked Lamb Shoulder
Our last savoury dish for the night was a huge lamb shoulder, slow cooked and served in a pot with a range of seasonal vegetables. We were pretty full by this dish but that lamb just fell off the bone and I my stomach couldn’t say no. I also loved the vegies as well, soaking up the lamb juices and adding a colourful tone to the dish.
Chocolate Mousse with Raspberry Sorbet
The whole table was absolutely stuffed by this point, but then we were spoilt with a serving of chocolate mousse cake. Thankfully it was really light and a nice ending to the meal. I’m so happy it wasn’t a dense cake.
Overall, I’m pleasantly surprised by The Ternary. I will admit, I am sceptical of hotel restaurants just serving average, overpriced food. The Ternary however demonstrates that they’re quite versatile with cuisines (thanks to the different kitchens) and proves that it’s a restaurant that happens to be in a hotel – it’s definitely not your average hotel restaurant. Pricing for main meals sit around the $30-$40 region which is pretty much on par with the rest of Cockle Bay Wharf, but unlike a lot of the restaurants on that side of Darling Harbour, I’ve left feeling satisfied, full and wanting more. It’s definitely worth checking out if you’re after a range of International cuisines paired with a view of the city skyline.
Novotel Sydney On Darling Harbour
100 Murray Street, Pyrmont NSW 2009
Ph: (02) 9934 0000