Hotel restaurants are definitely ‘hit and miss’ places, so when I was invited to come to The Ternary at Novotel Sydney (on Darling Harbour) to check out the new restaurant, I was curious to see how the night would pan out.
The Ternary officially opened to the public in mid February 2015. There are three different sections to the restaurant – the wine bar, the grill kitchen and (my favourite) the Asian kitchen.
I’m one of those people who study the menu out before I go somewhere and after having a look online, I was intrigued. The degustation, for example, starts with naan bread and then moves onto betel leaves. Indian, and Thai? Did someone build this restaurant just for me?
Being a vegetarian, I like to take experienced ‘meat eating’ buddies along to reviews so that I can get a well-rounded view of the menu. Tonight’s carnivore was Dane Ellevsen. Dane is known online as @thehealthytradie and does his best to inspire both a healthy life and a healthy mind in his followers.
After being served our drinks, a delicious New Zealand white for me and a Kirin for Dane – the executive chef Anthony Flowers came over to discuss the menu with us. Anthony brings 22 years of experience to The Ternary. Originating from Manchester in the UK, Anthony told us that when he came to Australia, he was inspired by the quality of Asian cuisine here.
I noted (with excitement) that the menu has a really strong Indian and Thai essence – and asked Anthony more about it. “Back home we had bad Chinese or Indian and that was about it,” he said, “But here, I have the opportunity to source real, fresh spices – like our cardamom – it’s incredible! Plus our produce is treated with so much more respect than some other places I’ve been around the world- believe me, it makes a huge difference.”
Anthony returned to the kitchen and our food adventure started. Firstly – fresh from their tandoor oven was naan bread with a mango pickle and a smoked yoghurt raita. Travelling in India has made me a little bit of a naan snob, and this naan definitely stood up to the plate – perfect. The smoked raita had a very subtle flavour and was topped with pomegranate seeds, which added bursts of freshness.
After the naan we were treated to betel leaves. Dane received the menu item – smoked flaked salmon with salmon pearls and fried shallots. The smoke flavour was strong but balanced by the really fresh salmon roe. I received mine with watermelon and radish which was very fresh and crisp – a great way to start a degustation.
One of the stand out vegetarian dishes of the night for me was the linguini pasta with shitake mushrooms, chilli, wild rocket and brioche crumbs. Not only was the dish flawless in concept, the flavour was delicate and the sauce was light and balanced – a great twist on a classic Italian dish.
Dane received the “No. 65 Special” which has a fantastic story to it. Originally, in Southern India, this dish became known as No.65 because it was much easier to order it by number than by name. The fresh hoki was light, flaky and coated in a very well balanced combination of Southern Indian spices – grilled to perfection. We suggested serving this by the buckets – it’s definitely one of the best dishes of the night.
The ricotta gnocchi is made in house and had a good bite to it… there’s nothing I loathe more than gnocchi that has the texture of glue – and this was everything but that. The sauce was based on a classic tomato flavour, with a definite hit of sweet and sour – again, a creative Asian twist on an Italian dish.
A tender and perfectly cooked veal cutlet was served with a ragout of mushrooms, baby spinach and spaetzle noodles. Described by Dane as “melt in your mouth” – The Ternary proved that the grill section certainly has the skills to deliver perfectly cooked meat.
Chef created a special dish for me that I feel I must mention - a mushroom omelette that came with an incredible sauce of coriander, chilli and soy. The omelette was light and fluffy with a delicious mushroom filling. I spotted enoki, shitake and button mushrooms and ate every last bite. Definitely the dish with my favourite flavour – the sauce was perfectly balanced and complimented the dish.
One of The Ternary’s signature dishes, pulled peppered beef in crispy pastry and water chestnut was delivered and Chef Flowers explained the long process used to prepare the meat for the dish. The pulled beef just falls apart and the crisp water chestnuts add a unique texture. The pastry is light and crisp – in fact it reminded me of home made waka pastry which I was taught to make last year. You could tell that this dish was Chef’s baby – and this in itself was a beautiful thing.
After eating a few more courses including a couple of different curries, arancini balls and an incredible Cajun prawn with baby corn – we were served dessert.
Mango crème brulee was topped with pop rocks and with champagne sorbet. Fresh mango added a sweetness and a freshness that complimented the entire dish. I ate 90% of this – I was in heaven.
The other dessert was dark chocolate mousse with raspberry sorbet. Served with freeze-dried raspberries and cream, the bitter mouse is softened and sweetened by the creamy sorbet. I’m not a huge chocolate girl, but I didn’t need to be – Mr Health himself finished off the mousse and we sat there, in shock of the amount of food we had just consumed.
All in all – the restaurant has a really well rounded menu, something I think is very important when located in a hotel or high tourist traffic area. The menu features items perfect for solo dining, but include dishes perfect for sharing by large groups. As well as featuring my favourite Asian inspired flavours, the grill menu ensures that all guests dining at the restaurant are able to choose something they will enjoy. On top of this, The Ternary has an Enomatic system, which enables guests to choose from nearly 100 wines by the glass or bottle.
A definite crowd pleaser due to its versatility – perfect to take any guest, even those you don’t know that well!