I love dining out in Sydney. The sheer volume of fantastic restaurants is panic-inducing and it certainly didn’t help that I was only visiting for a day and night this trip. Given this, it may seem like a bit of a cop-out to remain within one’s hotel complex to dine (we stayed at the Hilton Hotel on George Street). Indeed, given the all the fabulous choices, it may even seem a complete waste of opportunity. If I may plead my case however; Glass Brasserie is exactly why you stay in for the night.
I have dined at Glass a few times before and always come away with a smile on my face. This time was no exception. The dining room is beautiful and spacious (it can seat 240 people), and the wood finishing lends a touch of earthiness and warmth. Naturally there’s also a lot of glass used in clever ways to partition the dining and bar areas without interrupting the flow of the space as a whole. Luke Mangan’s Sydney diner could easily convince me to become a Hilton hermit!
Our dinner started late with a 9pm sitting but Glass was showing no signs of slowing down even on a Sunday night. It was actually by luck that we managed to get a table in the dining area at all. I therefore recommend that you book regardless of being a hotel guest or not. That probably goes for most places in Sydney mind you!
The menu was a joy to read but a torturous thing at the same time. Usually I can single out a couple of items and make a decision between them before the wait staff comes to take the order but it was a massive gastronomic struggle. There’s a lovely sashimi section for the health conscious, exciting tapas items, and for the daring and carnivorous folk dining in pairs, a massive kilo of Chateaubriand steak to be shared.
I eventually decided on seared scallops with cauliflower cream and black bean and tabouli dressing. My husband decided to give the daily pasta special a go; a smoked ham hock cannelloni with pea puree. The scallops were divine; beautifully seared, sweet and yielding. It was well complimented by the favoursome, smooth cauliflower cream and the tangy, crunchy black beans. There were also tiny fritters of cauliflower as an added (but most welcome) distraction.
My husband’s ‘pasta special’ really deserved a better description. Even at Glass we couldn’t help but expect a de rigueur bowl of pasta with sauce. What arrived surpassed our expectations by a country mile. Delicate little cannellonis filled with tender, smoky ham hock and lavished with two beautiful sauces; one of pea and the other an amazing blend of onion & mustard (we got a bit distracted with the food and I forgot to ask exactly what it was). The portion was perfect and satisfying.
We didn’t really have time for dessert but my husband indulged me and I perused the dessert menu. As a rule I will look at the dessert menu even if I’m not planning to have any. I think a testament to any restaurant is having a dessert menu that can very nearly convince its diner to make space for some pudding. On this occasion, I couldn’t go past Luke Mangan signature dessert; Licorice Parfait with Lime Syrup (this happened to be tonight’s dessert special and isn’t normally on the menu – quel dommage!). I love both licorice and lime so this dessert instantly floated my boat. The parfait was creamy, flavoured subtly with licorice and had a gorgeous semifreddo consistency. The sour, lime syrup cut through both the creaminess and licorice flavours so the next mouthful was still a refreshing delight. Wow!
The next morning, we enjoyed the buffet breakfast at Glass where you are more than spoilt for choice. The buffet is colour coded in accordance with any dietary requirements or preferences. I chuckled at the ‘High energy indulgence’ label. A nice way to say this stuff is full of sugar and fat. The morning staff were as efficient and pleasant as the evening staff so I can happily report that Glass will give its guests a consistently excellent dining experience.
Glass has been reviewed and lauded by people more capable than I of giving reviews so I won’t do much more here than to assure you that Glass ticks all the boxes for fine dining. The Sydney dining benchmark is set pretty high so it’s probably a no-brainer that My Mangan’s Glass is right up there with the best of the best. Hotel restaurants can easily slip below that benchmark and still fill seats, though most often with hotel guests but needless to say, Glass Brasserie is above and beyond a mere hotel restaurant.
If I am to venture out and try other Sydney restaurants on my next visit, best I stay longer than 24 hours and find a different hotel!