Relais Chateux boutique hotel and restaurant set at the top of Dolphin Bay overlooking Palm Beach, serving Michelin starred comparable dishes in an outstanding setting
Set above Palm Beach roughly 30 miles north of Sydney, this Relais Chateaux boutique hotel is certainly one of the most alluring settings I have ever been to. This little venue is probably responsible for more wedding proposals and wedding ceremonies than any other place on earth and one can easily see why this would be such a wonderful location for a romantic or special occasion. For my visit however, the view and setting was purely a massive bonus for wanting to sample one of Australia’s most hailed eateries holding two hats – their second highest accolade. The fact that one can get a seaplane here was also another superb option to have and clearly this was taken for such a great thing to do. The price of the plane ride was thrown in with the meal at Jonah’s costing approximately £280 pp, which, admitedly is quite a bit for lunch, however the views that one gains form the ride effectively doubles up a huge tick in the box for a visit to Sydney and dispells the need to do a helicpoter tour costing not too much less than that in some cases and this was one has a superb meal overlooking Palm beach as well.
As the plane landed in the bay of Palm Beach the dinghy boat was ready to collect all the passengers (which included a lucky work group on their Christmas party as a present from their boss) and all were transported to the top of the cliff by the Jonah’s taxi. On entering one simply cannot be taken by what a truly superb venue this is and it genuinely had the sort of excited ‘I can’t believe how nice this is’ impact which was a lovely holiday feeling and thing to do – a little treat for making the trip to Sydney to attend the wedding of a platinum couple and organising the stag do from Germany.
On to the food then and the amuse bouche of lobster bisque and olive oil toast bites were well done and were simply a huge pleasure. Creatively, I thought the bread was a little dull in comparison though. There was a large selection of different spices and variants of the oysters that were had and my poached egg with pickled onion and mushroom was, although not technically amazing, certainly delicious. An observation on the starters was that the oysters probably would have had even more kudos if they were actually just left to be in their own natural juices with lemon to let the flesh itself do the talking, as the sauces and additives detracted from this, however I was informed that the overall effect was very good nonetheless.
The mains of partridge and Porterhouse steak were well done and absolutely fine as they were cooked beautifully however, again, it wasn’t the most advanced of technical presentation for the prices on the menu – it was just very good cooking. I should also make a point that the half bottle of Cookshed Zinfandel was noted as one of the best red wines ever had. A pre-dessert of passion fruit mousse was light and very enjoyable and the actual desserts of chocolate delice and amaretto baba were, no question pleasing as flavour combinations and textures that were employed. After lunch drinks on the terrace in the summer sun were a given finishing off the meal to a lovely effect before collapsing in the plane for the journey home, rounding off a quality experience.
Overall, this venue is a sheer delight and will always be remembered as one of life’s moments simply at its best; in terms of food I would say it was probably only just within the 1 Michelin starred bracket for overall finesse and certainly no more. However, it was clearly good cooking and fine flavours on some simple dishes executed well producing a highly pleasing effect in terms of the cuisine.
Food Grade: 74%
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