Monday, January 26, 2015

Intercontinental Sydney Double Bay Stockroom

A noticeable trend is happening in Sydney. No longer are hotel restaurants mere afterthoughts and as places for guests to dine because they prefer the proximity of a hotel bar or restaurant to their beds. New fine quality establishments contained within a hotel are capable of standing on their own. These establishments have their own presence, people and character that can receive as much publicity as the hotel themselves and are very much open to the public, whether or not you are hotel guest. In the past few months, I’ve made more visits to Double Bay in Sydney’s lucrative eastern suburbs than I have over the past few years, a sure sign that a long overdue makeover to Double Bay is happening.


When you first walk into the Intercontinental Sydney Double Bay, you will feel like you have walked into a palace, in French provincial style.

For the first time before Christmas, I visited the Intercontinental Sydney Double Bay as I caught up with a few friends at The Stillery, a bar in the grandeur of the hotel. Word started to spread that this bar is one of the best and largest gin concept bars in Sydney. This is a bar that is fit for a palace. The interiors of this bar are so beautiful, stylish and comfortable with its soft grey and white palette colours, open space and luxurious tables and chairs in a setting that is intimate enough to be softly heard. The Stillery has a deliciously simple yet elegant tapas menu too (more about this below).



Adjacent to The Stillery is the Stockroom, the restaurant in the Intercontinental Sydney Double Bay with its signature all day dining serving market style buffet. You can enjoy a market style buffet for breakfast or weekend brunch, or an inspiring a la carte dining experience for lunch and dinner, led by Executive Chef Julien Pouteau. 


I had the pleasure of having Sunday brunch at The Stockroom and meeting the lovely Executive Chef Julien Pouteau too, who is behind the Intercontinental Sydney Double Bay brunch menu leading a team of 18 chefs in the kitchen all from different cultures France, Germany, Morocco, Costa Rica, China, Japan and one Australian. With this mixing pot of talent behind the scenes, these chefs are perfecting, tweaking, and interspersing treats from the kitchen to please the palates of their clientele to give guests a diverse and amazing first class dining experience. The brunch buffet was like a museum for food, a real feast for the eyes. The friendliness and efficiency of the waitstaff only enhance this dining experience.

I learned a little bit about Chef Julien, who has been in Australia for a little over 4 years and was raised on a farm in Brittany in France. Much of his approach to food and cooking has been influenced by food from France and is very much about sourcing local produce directly from producers and growers and knowing where the ingredients come from. If Julien is not cooking in the kitchen then his spare time would be liaising directly from local producers and farmers.

If you understand a little bit about a chef's background, you will understand their approach to food. There is abundance of fresh seafood, gastronomy that is also representative of Julien's homeland of Brittany. Food is simple, wholesome and a 'farm to table' approach to food. I love his bouillabaisse, macaroni, lamb shoulder and vanilla crème brulee.

A food trend that Julien likes at the moment is fermentation and pickling. Interestingly, in speaking with other chefs, in house pickling does seem to be a trend at the moment.  However, a food trend that Julien dislikes is anything to do with insects. Yes, I agree...insects don't do it for me and probably majority of the population.

Carving up cold meats is his favourite part of the brunch menu as it allows the kitchen staff the opportunity to meet and interact with clientele directly.

Julien also told me his most stimulating food experience overseas is France (of course) but also Morocco because of the spices, street food, cooking techniques that are very different from classical French cooking techniques.




The Stockroom has set the standard for gracious dining in Sydney. There is no shortage of food and the only trouble you will have is finding room in your stomach. I am hoping my food photos speak for themselves on the quality of food and deliciousness you will get at the Stockroom.

I liked everything on the brunch menu but I have four favourite dishes:

#1 Bouillabaisse. The bouillabaisse is a humble and hearty seafood broth which is delicious with crusty bread and bit of Pepe Saya butter, a premium handcrafted Australian butter.







#2 Lamb Shoulder with spiced yoghurt and tomato salsa. There is only one word for this lamb, 'tender' and it was deliciously seasoned with spices too. Hearty and simple.
 


#3 Macaroni heirloom tomatoes and basil. Delicious comfort food that is wholesome and  done al dente.
 
 
#4 Heilala Vanilla Crème Brulee. This rich custard base flavoured with vanilla bean is irresistible with its crisp burnt sugar crust. A simple yet stunning dessert.


Here are more of my food photography from the brunch menu...













Chef Julien also mentioned they were hosting a BBQ for the long weekend on The Rooftop and asked if I would like to see The Rooftop...why not?  The views up there are simply stunning and even better with the smell of meat cooked on a Japanese BBQ, which I also have at home but don't use as often as I should.



The Intercontinental Sydney Double Bay is also home to the very classy 'Stillery' Sydney’s first concept gin bar focussing on a growing collection of high-end local craft, imported, vintage and rare gin. The bar’s expansive menu and selection of signature cocktails highlight the versatility and quality of the gins on offer. When I was there before Christmas, this is the picture of our lovely waitstaff and cocktail mixer Josh...such attentiveness in making us the perfectly smooth easy to drink gin cocktail "South Side of The Bridge"...now how did he know? We loved this drink.


Equally blissful at the InterContinental Sydney Double Bay is the range of truffles you can get from the Truffle Bar...I think I will choose... the "Bliss Ball", which is made of dates, grapefruit, coconut and almond.

The food on the InterContinental Sydney Double Bay 's Stillery bar menu is pretty good. One of the plates we shared was the Crispy Flathead Taco with guacamole, pickle mango and smoked sour cream. Fries were nicely seasoned too. Confession...I needed the food to absorb my cocktail because that gin cocktail was a so smooth you don't realise the alcohol in it...until I got up.


Email reservations.doublebay@ihg.com
Call (02) 8388 8388
Visit www.intercontinental.com/doublebay


Stockroom on Urbanspoon

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