The Primus Hotel's restaurant offers an assured fine dining experience.
July 21, 2016
A heritage listed art deco building that originally housed the Sydney Water Board, the foyer of the Primus Hotel Sydney is all curves and geometry, with soaring ceilings and eye-catching eight-metre-tall scagliola columns of deep red.
Such a stately space demands haute cuisine menu, and the hotel's restaurant, The Wilmot, is firmly aiming for fine dining in a scene becoming increasingly casual, stylishly zigging while the rest of Sydney's restaurants zag.
Nestled on one side of the grand foyer and looking out onto the expansive space, the restaurant interior favours low lighting, muted tones and a sedate, upscale feel. The menu — which works on a one course for $38, two for $58, and three for $78 basis, with Champagne — is overseen by Korean-born chef Ryan Hong (ex-Black By Ezard, Abode), and offers a seasonal selection showcasing Australian produce with Asian influences.
An entrée of fig and beetroot is prettily plated; a slightly syrupy vincotto works well with the sweet earthiness of beetroot, including golden beetroot and thin pinwheels of candy stripe. The crunch of toasted nuts and caramelised figs add another interesting element, and dollops of thick labneh tie it all together.
Equally successful in terms of flavour balance is the South Australian octopus, which comes as a trio of flavoursome bites, each with a little mild chorizo and a chilli peanut paste that manages to complement rather than overwhelm some fresh, quality seafood.
A main of duck breast is unexciting compared to other options, though the pickled apple adds a welcome note of spice. A better choice is the whole snapper with ginger and soy sauce, which comes neatly charred and resting in a light sauce with a few sticks of asparagus and broccoli. It's a reminder that a great piece of seafood needs little accompaniment to shine.
Desserts are also strong on presentation — the honeycomb parfait comes as a velvety strip strewn with plump raspberries and a dollop of lilac-hued blackberry cream. The best, however, is saved for last with the beautifully in-season mandarin and lime, a dessert which just keeps getting better the deeper you delve into it. Behind flecks of citrus zest and thin sheets of brown sugar meringue, you'll find a perfectly measured scoop of lime gelato resting on a sweet bed of mandarin custard.
The wine list is positively voluminous with offerings from Hungary, South Africa and Greece alongside a range of Australian and old-world staples. But you can't go wrong with a light, clean Shaw and Smith 2014 Chardonnay from the Adelaide Hills ($18 glass, $83 bottle) with its notes of stone fruit.
Blessed with one of the most impressive dining spaces this side of Rockpool Bar & Grill —another restaurant on Hong's resume, mind you — The Wilmot offers an assured and upscale dining experience.