Reviewed by Georgia Cassimatis
Walking into the foyer of Darling Harbour’s latest icon, the Sofitel, I am hit with sophistication and style, as is de rigeur of any French hotel with its worldclass elegance. French Australian photography adorns the walls, sunflowers abound in beautiful vases, and the interior design is ….well a genuine experience of the French art de vivre.
Venturing to the third floor is Sydney’s only hotel Champagne bar, called in fact, The Champagne Bar, made all the more impressive with its 800-bottle wall adorned with 20 different types of champagne and vintage cuvee; from the smaller champagne houses like Canard-Duchene and Dom Perignon to the houses of Louis Roederer and Pommery. The special signature Louis Roederer Champagne from the 2009 vintage in collaboration with artist Philippe Starck, is instantly my favourite. With its buttery taste and low sugar level it is simply superbe and I am already planning to go back again, just for this, and the 180 degree city views.
A mere prelude, behind the wall of the golden sip is Sofitel’s signature restaurant Atelier by Sofitel: another sensory sensation with its city views, and a menu modelled on traditional influences of the South of France. The French inspired grill offers a fusion of Australian and French favourites with a fresh seafood focus starting with the local Merimbula Pacific oysters and my absolute favourite the Tiger prawns “a la Provençale” cooked in a ratatouille emulsion.
“The menus change seasonally with a focus on Australian flavours and produce, as well as different regions of the South of France,” explains Sofitel Sydney Darling Harbour Director of Food and Beverage, Nicolas Mercier.
It’s while devouring the Salted Caramel Dulcey Espresso Sponge Frangelico Cream dessert while sipping AIX French rosé that I start making plans with friends for Friday night drinks and dinner, while insisting that yes, there is finally a stylish restaurant in Darling Harbour and yes even 50 Cent stays here!
Atelier by Sofitel is located on Level 3 of Sofitel Sydney Darling Harbour, 12 Darling Drive, Darling Harbour. To view the full menu, visit the website and for reservations, please call (+61) 2 8388 8888.
Breakfast: 6am – 10.30am / 11am weekends
Lunch: Daily Noon – 2pm
Dinner: Monday to Saturday 5.30pm – 10pm, Sunday 5.30pm – 9pm