Monday, 3 May 2010

Restaurant Review: Sean's Kitchen, Sydney

On Wednesday night I went for dinner at Sean's Kitchen in Star City casino. Not so long ago having dinner at a casino would have seemed absurd to me. However, I realised from the Crown in Melbourne that casinos can have some of a city's smartest restaurants. Where there is money fine dining will follow, obvious really!

We were seated at a table with a horrible wobble, so after politely complaining (I'm getting better at not suffering in silence!) were moved to another table. Our second table was in an excellent location with a prime view of the large open kitchen, one of the signature features of the restaurant. I had my back to the kitchen for most of the evening, but was impressed how quietly and efficiently they seemed to be working.

Apart from the kitchen, Sean's is also known for it's selection of Spanish hams. We started with some Iberico ham that we learnt from our waitress came from a black pig fed on acorns and had been aged for 42 days. (I might have the aging wrong as I don't think that is very long for a ham?). The ham was excellent, soft, flavoursome and melted in your mouth.

For the main course I went for the obsession that is currently gripping Sydney, Wagyu beef. This version was a Wagyu meatloaf that came a tomato sauce. The beef was melt in your mouth tender and the tomato sauce had great depth of flavour and tasted of rich, ripe tomatoes.

However, there were several things that just didn't work about the dish. A large empty white plate was put in front of me and the meatloaf in a dish on the side. Why wasn't it on the plate? Secondly, Wagyu beef is known for its tenderness - which definitely came through - but also its flavour. Why mask such expensive beef behind an over powering tomato sauce? Finally, the main course consisted of the beef in tomato sauce and nothing else. Hardly a complete meal. The other main courses came with a garnish of vegetables.

My fellow diners ordered the rabbit pie, served with green beans. It was good to see something a bit different on the menu. I didn't taste the pie but it looked good. However, it was (very) small and the shape meant there was a high pastry to filling ratio. The final dish at the table was roast pork.

We ordered two side dishes, the duck fat chips which are are verging on a restaurant signature dish. They were good chips. We also ordered some beetroot with pine nuts.

We shared two desserts between the table. The apple pie with cinnamon ice cream that you can see above. I'm a sucker for a good apple based desert and this was a good dessert. The cinnamon ice cream had a mild flavour that built as it dissolved in your mouth.

We also had poached figs with coffee ice cream. We were expecting whole (or halved) poached figs, but they came served as small pieces in a sweet, almost syrupy sauce. I'm not a massive coffee fan, but was pleasantly surprised by the ice cream which wasn't too strong.

I have mixed feelings about Sean's Kitchen. All of the food tasted good. There were also some nice touches, like the stenciled butchers paper that made a few appearances during the evening. However, in too many areas it was late down. Our friendly waitress wasn't always around when we needed her. The execution of the food could also have a been a little better.

At the end of the meal my to fellow diners decided to rate the restaurant and gave it three out of five. I think I'd be a little harsher and score it two and a half out of five.

*The restaurant was very dark which played havoc with my camera, hence that lack of photos.

**I was very kindly treated to dinner by my friends. I hope I don't come across as ungrateful by giving the restaurant a 'mixed' review.


  1. always nice to get a free meal. was the place crowded and busy hence the missing service? i havent' been before. would have been good to see what the dishes look like.

  2. The place wasn't too busy, so no excuse for the service really.

    There are some bad photos here:

    (There are four photos in total)