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Sunday 3 September 2017

Five-star Sydney hotel dining is serious fun

The five-star Four Seasons Hotel in Sydney has always been a culinary trailblazer. 

Back in the day when it was known as the Regent, chef Serge Dansereau was a style leader who influenced dozens of local chefs. More recently, Mark Best dazzled at Pei Modern.

The new restaurant at the Four Seasons, Mode Kitchen and Bar, is perfect for the times; relaxed and fun with infectiously enthusiastic staff and dishes that are simultaneously delicious and relatively affordable. 

There is a 1920s theme, seasonal cooking, classic cocktails and well-timed (restaurant manager Simone Cordedda had his finger firmly on the pulse and our Dutch waitress Iris was a delight).

The mood is somewhere between bistro and fine dining with chef Francesco Mannelli showing a deft touch. Think classic but contemporary. 

Mannelli comes to Mode Kitchen & Bar with more than 20 years’ experience in top restaurants both in Australia and abroad, most recently at Sydney’s Balla, Bistrode CBD and est. His passion for cooking and quality produce stems from his upbringing in Tuscany, picking olives and grapes at his uncle’s vineyard.

Chef Francesco Mannelli’s menu focuses on flavour and technique and his favourite dishes include slow-cooked Wagyu cheek, red cabbage and chestnuts, Hiramasa kingfish sashimi with sweet and sour onions and macadamias and risotto with Tasmanian truffles and mushrooms.

“Mode Kitchen & Bar encompasses everything I have learnt and found a passion for, transformed into something new and truly my own,” he says.
“The menu reflects everything that Mode means to me – simplicity, ease, comfort, enjoyment and finesse. It is something I am truly excited to welcome guests to; something so close to my heart it’s like welcoming you into my home.”
Mannelli is joined on the pans by sous chef April Shen who has built up an impressive CV with experience at Pei Modern, Pendolino, Bistro Moncur and Bacco Osteria e Espresso. 

Complementing the Mode lunch and dinner experience is a nine-metre-long bar and bar menu which is central to the venue’s glamorous old-meets-new-world offering. Signature cocktails include the Rhubarb Fizz, Vesper on The Rocks and a Reposado Sour. 

We began with a pair of gin and dirty tonics and a small plate of flash-fried salt and pepper prawns as an appetiser, followed by the standout kingfish dish, and a witlof, gorgonzola and roasted walnut salad. 

Mains were whole fish of the day with tarragon butter; and delicious wood-roasted spatchcock with shitake mushrooms. We also shared some Ossau-Iraty cheese with chilli jam for dessert. 

An extensive wine menu focuses on Australian wines alongside the best from the rest of the world, with more than 200 labels on offer and many by the glass. Our choices were a Bernard Defaix 2015 Petit Chablis (a bargain for $70) and a couple of glasses of Nick O'Leary 2015 Shiraz. 

Mode Kitchen & Bar is open seven days a week for lunch and dinner from noon. 

Most satisfactory.   

Mode Kitchen & Bar, 199 George Street, Sydney. (02) 9250 3160. 

# The writer was hosted by the Four Seasons Hotel, Sydney 

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