My parents have returned from Vietnam which means my life *somewhat* goes back to normal. With 3 weeks to go until my big overseas trip it's all feeling a little hectic at the moment, finalising stuff for the trip, social events in my calendar every weekend until I go, it's crazy!
So it was my birthday a couple of Fridays ago and I took the day off work to spend the day and have lunch with Ryan. The lunch location was kept a suprise and I did my absolute best not to ask too many questions or even try to figure out where we were going (unlike last year). As soon as we were in front of the Hilton Hotel on George Street I knew exactly where we were having lunch.
Glass Brasserie has been a place I've had my eye on for a while now, though I'm not sure Ryan even knows about my ever growing wish list. It just so happened that Ryan had been wanting to try it out too. It was nice to see owner chef Luke Mangan walking around the restaurant during lunch chatting to guests and just keeping an eye on everything. I was tempted to ask for a photograph but was just too shy to, and I didn't want to intrude on him.
We start off with the complimentary bread, and we do love our bread when it's made well. This bread is seasoned with zaatar (a spice blend) and served with Luke's own brand of extra virgin olive oil. I know shouldn't fill myself up before the food but the bread is so good it's hard not eat it all. I am the most indecisive person when it comes to choosing, especially when there is good food involved. To eliminate the dilemna of constantly changing my mind between dishes I let Ryan take charge of the ordering.
We started off with two of the tapas style dishes from the menu to share, the first being the Pan fried goose foie gras, scallop, quince, hazelnuts, spiced bread. It was only small but this piece of foie gras was the most decadent, rich, smooth and silky thing I had eaten. I've had foie gras before but generally it's been more of an element to a dish rather than the main star. It paired perfectly with the scallop, quice and hazelnuts on the side as well as the spiced bread that came with it. It helped to cut through the richness of the foie gras.
The spiced bread. Ryan called it ginger bread, which in essence it almost did taste like it. And he said it was the best damn ginger bread he had tasted.
Second dish was the Beef tongue char grilled with four spice, green tomato, radish & shaved fennel. Ryan and I are not offal lovers but we first had (veal) tongue at District Dining as it was part of a set menu there. It was the most amazing dish we had tried. And this beef tongue at Glass was even more amazing. I've always imagined tongue to be quite tough and chewy, and the thought of even eating tongue just really put me off. The tongue here is cooked beautifully, it's actually quite soft and smooth on the tongue (excuse the pun). I do find it slightly over seasoned but find relief in the garnish that comes with it.
Ryan suggested we have one of the mains to share, which I happily agreed to. We chose the Roast lamb rack, hay-baked & glazed shoulder, carrots, leeks, green beans, white bean skordali.
The main was served table side and we had two very friendly waiters looking after us. One was more photogenic than the other.
That's a plate for one! The servings are absolutely huge, I'm sure there was enough food there to feed four. We probably could have skipped the entrees, but they were a nice start to the meal. The lamb rack was not too fatty and cooked to perfection. The shoulder was just so soft and tender to eat. We enjoyed every little morsel that we could fit in. I absolutely struggled to eat my half but there was no way Ryan was taking my leftovers because he didn't have any room left either.
Sides Truffled Mash, White Bean Puree. I'm not sure if the truffled mash was suppose to come with the lamb as it wasn't on the menu. We originally did request for it with our mains but were told that we wouldn't need it as the lamb came with plenty of sides. We were so happy to have it though. It was almost like a puree, the most smoothest, silkiest potato puree I've ever had. And I just love the aroma of the truffle oil blended into it. Even better than the mash/puree we had at Quay. I would have been happy eating just a bowl of it. It actually outshone the white bean puree which I thought was nice, but nothing like the potato puree.
Macarons (spelt macaroons on the menu): Mixed berry, Choc Mint. We really truly did not have room for a full blown dessert. But I managed to talk Ryan into getting a couple of macarons, as they are our weakness. We were a left disappointed though as the shells were a little on the too hard side for our liking. The choc mint was okay flavour wise but the mixed berry filling was just way too sweet.
The stunning interior of the resturant. This photo doesn't really capture the essence of the dining space, you'll just have to have a look for yourself ;) After lunch we walked (rolled) down to Event Cinemas on George Street and watched Kung Fu Panda 2 (and we actually watched the first one with some friends for my birthday the year it was released). I absolutely loved it as much as I loved the first one.
On Saturday, Ryan offered to cook up a feast for me to celebrate with some friends. I did come over early to give him a hand, and there was alot to do.
There were two legs of lamb, which he roasted with some garlic and rosemary. Even though they were a little raw in the middle when it came time to carve them, they were delicious (nothing a frying pan can't fix). There was also a saffron cashew sauce that went with the lamb (no photo). Everyone loved the sauce.
Roasted winter vegetables - pumpkin, swedes, celeriac and shallots. They could have done with a few more minutes in the oven too, dear boyfriend underestimated his time and everyone was getting hungry and anxious with anticipation too which didn't really help.
One thing that can't really go wrong. Ryan made truffled mash and even went and bought real (brined) truffles to mix through it. He surely knows my weakness.
To top off the night - best ever ricotta cheesecake in Sydney! And everyone agreed after they had a taste. I had to go to Pasticceria Papa at Haberfield in the morning to pick up my own birthday cake because Ryan was too busy to ;). He had actually wanted to make dessert but seeing as it wasn't his specialty he thought he would take the safe option. It had actually been a long while since we've had this cheesecake so a birthday was a great excuse to indulge. I also served up some macarons I had made a few days earlier. It was a great night, spent with some great food and great company.
On Sunday I cooked up a feast for my family but didn't take any pics apart from this one of my dessert stand. We had nem (thanks to Mum's frozen stash), sausages, buffalo wings, pork ribs, salt and pepper calamari, roast potatoes, garden salad, and garlic fried rice. Plenty of leftovers but it was all put to good use the next day with my parents and also Ryan's parents being overseas. For dessert I had chocolate dipped vanilla profiteroles and cinnamon & milk chocolate macarons. I also decided to make use of the Christmas present Ryan's mum gave me - the cake stand.And just when I thought birthday festivities were over I return to work on Monday and have a morning and an afternoon tea (both with cake!) organised for me. Turning 27 this year wasn't as bad as I had thought it would be. And it has and will be a great year ahead, I just know it =).