I’ve had an itch to write lately and as I work on a strategy article I thought I might throw in a few short reviews of places I’ve been to recently. Three is a good number.
The newest hotel addition to the already massive Crown Complex in Melbourne. My latest trip to Melbourne saw me staying here for the first time since it opened in early 2010. Very simply I will say that it is a notch above Crown Promenade but not in the league of Crown Towers (a truly excellent hotel), with one small caveat. The room is very open flowing and while I am generally a fan of open designs I draw the line when it extends to the bathroom. While you can almost segregate the bathroom from the rest of the room through the use of sliding doors it is still not totally closed off and I am just not a fan of that. For a single person it would be fine and for a couple it may be acceptable, yet not ideal, but for two friends sharing a room it is just plain inconvenient.
The room itself is modern with great amenities and the hotel as a whole falls under the same umbrella. I didn’t get a chance to check out the facilities but I am sure they are of a very high standard as everything is within Crown. The food was very good. The 24 hour room service menu never disappointed me being prepared and delivered from the kitchen of the level 1 restaurant Mr. Hive Kitchen & Bar which itself is a great restaurant. The foie gras & chicken liver parfait as well as the celeriac mash w/ black truffles were particularly amazing and are not to be missed.
Overall I have no major complaints with the hotel and think it fits it’s niche perfectly in between Towers and Promenade.
I’m relatively sure I reviewed this place earlier in the year after the Aussie Millions but it’s worth revisiting. I went there again for breakfast and the quality of food was outstanding to say nothing of the coffee. The place has a definite hipster vibe situated in a refurbished garage and in poker player terms is miles away from the casino (a leisurely 10 minute walk) but if you enjoy your coffee this is the place to go. I’m not going to spend much time on this other than to reaffirm my recommendation of the place – the menu is frequently changing but order the salmon breakfast dish if it’s still there – it’s very good.
Guillaume at Bennelong
This is actually an old review – we went here several months ago – and it’s not a positive one. The restaurant is located within the Sydeny Opera House and has won many awards so our expectations were understandably relatively high, though not unreasonably so. Three of us were dining and I believe I can say for all of us that our experience was lacklustre at best; downright disappointing and unacceptable to be honest. There was nothing difficult about our group or our ordering: we sat down, ordered some drinks, all decided on the degustation menu with varying wines and that was that. Should be straightforward, right? Wrong.
The service over the entire night left a sour taste in our mouths without anything to say of the food which wasn’t special anyway. Our drinks took up to 20 minutes to arrive and were not great; some of the wines were even completely wrong. The waiters and servers seemed annoyed to be there and virtually slammed our plates down before storming off, leaving us to exchange glances and share a “this food better be unreal” moment. It wasn’t.
I’m not one to be inherently negative or to slam a restaurant just for the sake of it. In fact if you look back over my reviews the vast majority have been positive. There was little positive to say about our night here though and I would absolutely not recommend this place to anyone. There are hundreds of better places to go if you’re in Sydney and even if you want the experience of dining within Circular Quay with landmark views – go to Aria, Quay, Cafe Sydney, or one of the many other great restaurants within the vicinity. Give Guillaume a miss.