The Darling Hotel
Known as the ultimate luxury property of Sydney, The Darling Hotel was my accommodation of choice to nestle myself in during the entirety of Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Australia. From my first steps into the lobby, I knew I was back in heaven with the beautiful bouquets of blooms, a white fresh atmosphere, and of course the smell of the Molton Brown amenities (which to my absolute delight remain the amenities of choice in each room)!
Upon arrival to my beautiful spa suite, I deemed it as everything one could ask for when it comes to the high life in Sydney. Beautiful sweeping views of the Sydney harbour bridge on the twelfth floor, a spacious room equipped with a number of huge plasma TV screens, and a huge spa bath fit for a Queen (or King). The King bed overlooks the lovely Sydney harbour water and pool, making it hard to find a reason good enough to leave bed for the day!
The Darling Spa
Popping into the Darling Spa amidst the craziness of Fashion Week has to be one of the best decisions I have ever made. Proving to be one of the most luxuriate and indulgent experiences, the Darling Spa exceeded all expectations. Not only was the 60 minute full body massage peaceful and muscle-relaxing, it was just what was needed after a tough week of back-to-back fashion shows. I have had the pleasure of enjoying many spa treatments in the past, but I must say my experience in using the facilities of the Darling Spa are on another level! To be honest, they have some of the best facilities I have ever experienced from around the world. Opting away from the usual sauna and for something a little different and unique, I took comfort in the Moroccan Hamman Chamber. The hot stone beds heated to 42 degrees celsius soothed and relaxed my back muscles like no other has before! After noting that I would only try this room for a few minutes, I was pleasantly surprised and ended up staying for the full 20 minutes (as recommended)! I am still dreaming about the relaxed feeling the hot stone beds created.
Other facilities made use of by Day Spa guests included the sauna and jacuzzi, the dimmed room full of reclined seats and blankets which allowed one to escape if required, the Darling Fitness Centre, and last but not least, the most delicious ginger cinnamon tea I ever did try!
Black By Ezard
Opulent, exquisite, fine dining to say the least. The very well known Black by Ezard was first up on our itinerary at the Star, for a night that was soon to be filled with creative cocktails, aromatic wines, and divine foods fit for the gods. Having heard the restaurant is notoriously known for delectable steaks, heavenly deserts, and an elegant ambiance, we went in with expectations to match and this exclusive restaurant did not disappoint!
Starting the night in true style with a lemon drop (YES- finally somewhere who know how to kill a lemon drop) and an always favourite Gin & Tonic, we took our time making our selections from the extravagant menu. Out first came the freshly shucked Port Douglas oysters, and boy were these a treat. Setting the standard high and our appetite going, we indulged on countless oysters filled topped with red wine vinegar and shallot dressing. Next up were the mains and boy can I say they were something else. From presentation to flavour, each and every dish had it all. These days, it is quite common to find a visually appealing dish. However to convey this into the flavours of the dish is where many fall, however not for Dany Karam and his team of talented chefs. Bursting with flavour, out came the Pan fried john dory (served with soft herbs, cauliflower, brown butter, and caper dressing) and King prawns with seaweed butter which proved to be the tastiest prawns I have ever had. Period. Both exquisite dishes made using only the freshest produce. On the side was the fig salad, which I must say was BURSTING with exotic flavours of bitter leaves, candied walnuts, housemate duck ham, and accompanied with the fluffiest buffalo mozzarella cheese, topped with a white balsamic dressing. Accompanying the salad had to be the side of butter lettuce, avocado, and pink grapefruit, all topped with a tangy french dressing. Perfect to provide a fresh edge to the dishes. Magnificent to say the least, and definitely a highlight of the night. Accompanying the mains were two matched wines – the Pinot Grigio and the Chenin Blanc – one with softer tones, and one with stronger tones, each just as divine as the next, and each playing their own distinct roles throughout the evening.
Following the mains and as if the night could not improve, was the final hoorah! The jaw dropping, mouth watering, tastebud breaking, decadent desserts. Although tempted to order the entire desert menu, my waistline kept me in check and restrained me to only two. That was, the deconstructed cheesecake and the chocolate dome. Having read about and seen videos of the famous chocolate dome, I was enthralled/thrilled to finally have the chance to give one a go myself. However what I was even more thrilled about was the contents of the dome. One may be able to construct a dome, however to construct a tasteful, tempting, dome is another thing, and chef Karam aced this. Filled with peanut, banana sorbet and cookie crumbled, topped with warm coverture ganache, this dish takes home the prize for the most exciting and pleasing dessert I have ever laid eyes on. The flavours worked perfectly with one another and combined to create a rich, splendid chocolate masterpiece. Not in a “death by chocolate” way, but in a ‘the chef sure knows what he is doing’ way, allowing each of the elements to be tasted and valued in the dish overall.
Alongside was the deconstructed cheesecake of goats curd, figs, raspberries, hibiscus, pecan, and my soft spot, caramel ice cream. With a completely different set of flavours, this creamy dish is a cheesecake lovers heaven, and boy was this evident when my guest demolished the plate within a very short period! Lucky for me, I was able to quickly intercept and have my taste of what fast took me to cloud nine and cheesecake bliss. What made this dish astounding was the fact that yes, deconstructing a cheesecake gives it that additional visually appealing factor, but it remained distinguishable as a cheesecake, and did not become just a number of elements to the plate. When combined with one another, all flavours expected of a perfect cheesecake bursted, and combined perfectly to create a mouthwatering experience with every spoonful time and time again.
Black by Ezard proved to live up to its reputation of fine dining at its absolute best. With only positive things to say, I will definitely be returning, and greatly suggest an evening at this elegant restaurant for a night that will not disappoint. My tastebud experience will happily remain with me until I return to be spoiled.
Notoriously known to be one of, Sydney’s best restaurants especially when it comes to breakfast, Sokyo was definitely high on my must-visit list this past week, and I was lucky enough to pop in for an early morning breakfast to fuel up prior to a busy day! Having a to-die-for breakfast reputation, I was eager to finally give the menu a trial to appreciate for myself what all the fuss is over, so expectations were high, and for good reason!
Kickstarting the day as energised (and exploding) as possible, I proudly chose to indulge in the “buffet and a la carte” breakfast option to kick off a full day of Fashion Week commitments. Of the ever evolving a la carte menu, and being the indecisive woman I am, I left my a la carte breakfast choices to the experts aka Chef Chase Kojima and his team of talented Sokyo chefs, to create an array of breakfast delights. Little did I know leaving it in their hands meant a plethora of breakfast options coming my way!
Before I knew it, on my table was an array of stomach-rumbling options. Perfect and finely presented were the eggs Benedict, the lamington, the seaweed omelette and the seafood breakfast bowl. Appetising is all I can say! Each as unique as the next, every exquisite dish sent my tastebuds into a frenzy.
The creamy miso hollandaise sauce, perfectly cooked poached eggs, streaky bacon, and sweet edamame toasted brioche bun left the eggs Benedict a sure bet. Topped with ponzu pearls, if you are an eggs Benedict lover this is definitely your go-to at Sokyo breakfast.
Next, although hesitant to consume seafood for breakfast was the Sokyo Seafood Breakfast Bowl, which sure changed my mind on the seafood-for-breakfast matter! Presenting a rainbow on my plate, the array of fresh seafood (think salmon, octopus, flying fish roe, beni shoga) was served with a poached egg and a bowl of Hokkaido yumpirika rice…one of a kind and opulent to say the least.
The Matcha Green Tea Lamington bursted with different flavours and was the perfect combination of dense and fluffy. Toasted coconut, red bean paste, Yuzu curd, and compressed watermelon all combined to form a delicious and aspirational dish! Again, one of a kind.
Although full to say the least, the buffet was finally paid a visit, with favouring going towards the smoked salmon, cheeses, pastries, and yoghurts. Although exploding, these delicious treats could not be forgone!
People sure are right when they say Sokyo is the place to be for breakfast. Definitely a Star highlight and definitely in need of a visit by anyone and everyone during a stay in Sydney. For something different, try the Matcha latte which they sure have perfected, or the newest craze, a golden latte, perfect for any time of day with enriching flavours like no other to boost one into their day.