Friday, 25 February 2011

capital grill & pomegranates

When I was invited to Capital Grill, in Sydney’s Circular Quay, I have to admit I hadn’t heard of it.

It was in a familiar building, The Gateway, where I’d had many meetings but the grill itself hadn’t been there before.

What a difference its arrival has made to the area, providing a long open bar protected from the elements yet open to the breeze coming off the Harbour. It was clear from the tables filled with suits that it was a popular spot for a post-work drink and meal. I imagine the business lunch crowd would be equally enamoured.

Is that an angel with halo & wings? 
No it's Chef Mike delivering my dinner!

The Restaurant Manager (Ron) and Chef (Mike) made Jonas and I right at home for the special pomegranate tasting menu we were there to sample. True hospitality.

Our amuse bouche to start was a beautiful, strong flavoured Berkshire sausage on radicchio with slices of creamy, fresh avocado, glistening pomegranate jewels and tangy aioli. The flavours were well-balanced with no bitterness from the raw radicchio. Jonas loved this so much he wanted to order a side of Berkshire sausage!

Sydney Rock Oysters ($3.80 ea)
Freshly shucked w pomegranate granita, cracked pepper

Next up were lovely Sydney rock oysters from Foster, served natural with a simple pomegranate granita flecked with freshly milled black pepper and finely diced shallots. It was sweet but still had an acidity which matched well with the oysters. These were the first raw oysters that Jonas actually liked, which I should add had been perfectly back shucked (from the hinge). Too often in this city oysters are shucked from the brittle end of their shells leaving unpleasant shards for diners. It’s wonderful when a kitchen takes the time and effort to undertake the more difficult but ultimately more rewarding back shuck.

Back shuck . . . does that sound rude? Ahem, moving right along.

House Cured Atlantic Salmon ($18)
Pomegranate, crisp caper aioli, potato thins, shaved fennel

Cured Atlantic salmon was exquisitely flavoured, the fattiness of the fish perfect against thin slices of waxy kipfler potato, briny capers and crunchy shaved fennel. Aioli laced the plate, again accompanied by bejewelled pomegranate seeds. I enjoyed this so much more than I thought I would.

But then again, I love pomegranate anything!

Grilled Kingfish ($30)
Crisp bacon, spring peas, bouillabaisse sauce

In addition to the pomegranate menu, the chef added an extra course of grilled kingfish. It was a mild flavoured fish with a robust seafood sauce, texture from the peas and a wonderful sweet smokiness from the crisp pieces of speck.

This came with a side of steamed broccoli with sugar snap peas and garlic confit ($8).

Mango Martini ($17)
Fresh mango and grapefruit, pomegranate frozen vodka liqueur

We were almost too full for the dessert, but the light fruity option was a perfect finish. Served in a martini glass, fresh slippery cubes of mango flesh were served alongside bitter pink grapefruit segments that had been doused in icy cold pomegranate vodka. The macerate fruit was topped with a rich cream, heavily laden with vanilla beans, the white dollop flecked with millions of tiny black specks.

With this we were sated and leant back into our chairs to rub our bellies and chat to Chef Mike who confessed he had been a food blogger too (Scallops & Pancetta) before this chef role took up all his time. Perhaps that’s why he and his crew were so relaxed with me snapping away at all the food that hit my table.

After such a lovely, relaxing meal and drinks we discovered that everything was entirely on the house. We knew some of it would be “gifted” but not everything (wow, thank you)!

With that in mind, we made sure we left a good tip. That’s only fair, afterall.

Morsels & Musings dined courtesy of Capital Grill and POM Wonderful.

Capital Grill
The Gateway Building, 1 Macquarie Place
Circular Quay, Sydney


  1. Very inventive use of pomegranate, I'd like to try some of those dishes soon.

  2. wow, chef mike brought the meals to your table!!! how cool!!


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