Review of Christmas by the Bay
By Cameron Phillips, Maître Hôtelier
This year for the annual festive celebration the Sydney Bailliage of La Chaîne des Rôtisseurs gathered on the waters edge of Sydney Harbour at Sails on Lavender Bay. Members and guest were greeted on arrival by owner Greg Anderson and team to the stunning location where the choice of transport for most was the Sydney Ferry. In the soft evening light, diners enjoyed a canapé selection of Peking duck dumplings, hiramasa kingfish ceviche and tartlets of sweet corn, pickled beetroot and pecan.
The stunning views enjoyed by all of the iconic Sydney skyline framed perfectly by the Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge set the scene for the evening, a modern twist on the traditional Aussie Christmas dinner.
Bailli Regional Joerg Boeckeler opened the evening with a La Chaîne des Rôtisseurs inspired welcome to country in acknowledgement of traditional ownership of the land in which we had gathered before Head Chef Nathan Darling introduced the evening’s menu.
First course was served to the sounds of Christmas crackers and appropriate festive cheer from all, whipped goats curd served with pumpkin, asparagus, hazelnut and truffle oil matched with a 2013 Dead Mans Hill Gewurztraminer from Mansfield Vic, was a light and refreshing opening to the evening ahead.
The traditional prawns on the barbeque had been delicately interpreted by Chef Nathan Darling in the second course of chilled prawns, mango, cucumber, chilli and coriander salsa accompanied by a 2014 Two Rivers “Stone Throw” Semillon from the Hunter Valley.
Continuing to showcase seafood the restaurant specialty, the first hot dish of the evening was seared scallops with jamon, pea puree, brioche crumbs and maple dressing was joined by the Loire Valley French 2013 Tranquille Les Lys Tendrevoe.
Any Christmas dinner would not be complete with out the turkey. Lightly smoked turkey breast with broccolini brown mushrooms with soubise sauce was Chef Darlings’ interpretation of this traditional sumptuous main. Paring the main was a 2012 Clare Valley, SA Killikanoon “Prodigal” Grenache.
The talk of the evening by many was the creative twist of Christmas Pudding turned to brûlée by the talented kitchen team served flambéed with shortbread and brandy ice cream capped by Campbells Muscat from Rutherglen Vic.
Joerg Boeckeler concluded the evening and the year for Sydney Bailliage by presenting the team at Sails on Lavender with a certificate of achievement and wished all a safe and happy Christmas and New Year.