It's the Year of the Rooster and time to celebrate and there is no better way to bring in the Chinese New Year than to indulge in one of Sydney's finest buffets at Sheraton on the Park Feast Restaurant overlooking Hyde Park.
I'd love to tell you that the Rooster above is sitting on the balcony of the Sheraton on the Park Feast restaurant, but I'd be pulling your leg. It is a photo I took in Thailand and since it is the Year of the Rooster I'd thought I'd share him with you.
Last night I had the pleasure of dining at Feast to try the custom designed menu to celebrate Gong Xi Fa Cai and there was plenty on offer. This is not the first time I have dined at Feast's themed buffets, and every time I visit I am always impressed with the menu and the presentation. There is a lovely vibe at Feast and the view of Hyde Park is truly elegant.
Photos by Mark Rogers
So impressive is this buffet that we happened to notice a wedding party! With permission from the bride and groom, they let us share a photo. FYI there is a private room available in the dining area for special celebrations and gatherings.
Now back to the food. You can't help but gaze at the mouth-watering seafood selection as you walk in the door, it is without a doubt one big drawcard of Feast's buffets. The seafood is always fresh and replenished as quickly as it disappears on to eager diner's plates. I always head straight for the seafood, and despite this was a menu designed for Chinese New Year, the seafood display just kept calling me over.
On offer you will be able to indulge in crab, oysters, mussels, prawns, smoked salmon, Balmain bugs (we debated whether they were Morten Bay Bugs or Balmain Bug but since it is Sydney I'll go with Balmain). The oysters are incredibly fresh and didn't need anything added to them, I'm always a fan of prawns even if I have to peel them at the table, however there is a bowl of water and lemon to quickly clean that mess up, and I must mention the table service is exceptional with plates cleared promptly. Going back to the bugs, I find them quite tasteless compared to the sweet meat of the crab and it's definitely worth the effort to crack open a claw.
This buffet is especially designed for Gong Xi Fa Cai so there are a number of traditional Chinese dishes on offer as well as some delicacies such as deep fried Ling filet with Sichuan chilli sauce, stir fried scallops with xo sauce, braised pork in brown sauce, gong bao prawn and boiled black chicken soup with northern ginseng. I only grazed on a number of the dishes for a taste only as I had pretty much over-indulged in the seafood (mental note to self; be more adventurous).
For more traditional eating on offer are dishes such as Shepherd's pie and the carvery for a roast. I can't remember the last time I had Shepherd's pie but it brings back memories of my late mum who used to make this dish a lot when we were kids. As you can see even though this special menu was designed for Chinese New Year there is plenty on offer to cater for all tastes. Another dish I really enjoyed was the mornay oysters, yes I know serious oyster fans will be unimpressed but these take me back to my childhood in New Zealand where we often had oysters either fried in batter or mornay. True!
If you are still hungry after all this then the classic Chinese dessert, red bean milk soup is on offer along with a vast range of other sweets that are beautifully presented.
Feast is a family friendly restaurant and caters for larger groups as well. I'd advise to book early for the Gong Xi Fa Cai buffet so you don't miss out. Prices for the Gong Xi Fa Cai buffet start from $79 per person for lunch, served daily from 12:00 to 14:30, and $89 per person for dinner, served daily from 18.00 to 22:30 and available 16 January – 19 February, 2017. For further information or to make a reservation please contact Feast Restaurant on 02 9286 6000 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.