After extensive refurbishment to strip the building back to its original historical structure, the Harbour Rocks Hotel is looking very chic indeed. The contemporary interior of the hotel’s Scarlett Restaurant, flaunts original colonial brickwork, sandstone and beams in a relaxed bistro setting. The small intimate venue offers a modern Australian menu developed by sous chef Sabine Kowalewicz in collaboration with executive chef of Scarlett and Sebel Pier One, John Slaughter. We made our way through the cobbled laneways of Sydney’s oldest suburb to see what this new-old place had to offer.
Entrees of seared scallops, kohirabi remoulade and toasted quinoa was matched perfectly with a light Pinot Blanc from France. For those enjoying the chicken liver parfait, sourdough and pickles it was a quick trip to Italy with a Pinot Grigio from the Fruili region.
Main course presented a beautiful lamb backstrap, gordal olive crust, white polenta, roasted cherry tomatoes with jus. The lamb was lovely and tender, cooked to request while the olive crust was to die for. The polenta was notably tasty, the tomatoes soft and bursting with flavour with the jus typing together the entire dish.
The alternative option was the roast barramundi, corn puree, yellow oyster and shiitake mushrooms, and tarragon. The fish was roasted to perfection; soft flesh break apart upon dissection while the skin was pan-fried to a brilliant crunchiness. Thick yet wondrously smooth, the corn puree added softness to the dish, with the subtle sweetness of corn complementing the earthiness of the mushrooms.
For dessert you can’t go wrong with chocolate, we indulged in a warm red wine and chocolate cake, poached pear, vanilla ice-cream and ganache, which went down a great hit across the board.
The thyme panna cotta, apricot granita and mascarpone ice cream was also fabulous. The pudding was smooth and creamy with the distinct flavour of thyme, which was fragrant but not overwhelming. The apricot granita added a refreshing balance of tartness and went wonderfully with the lush mascarpone ice cream. Such a satisfying end to a lovely meal.
Scarlett Restaurant is open to guests and visitors. You can access the restaurant from the historical backstreets of The Rocks as well as through the hotel lobby.
Harbour Rocks Hotel
34 Harrington St, Sydney 2000
(02) 8220 9999