A revolving restaurant perched on top of a CBD high-rise might be the very definition of a tourist haunt. But O Bar and Dining – located on the 47th floor of Sydney’s Australia Square – is out to challenge the stereotype.
The first thing that hits you as you arrive at the refurbished space – formerly the Summit restaurant – is of course the staggering city and sea views, followed immediately by the quality of the crowd. You’ll be hard-pressed to spot any selfie sticks here, or for that matter giggling tour groups reminiscent of that afternoon spent at 360 Bar and Dining – Sydney’s other revolving eatery.
Instead, the crowd here is local: suited corporate types entertaining clients on weeknights, romantic couples enjoying an intimate dinner on the weekends… even niftily dressed city slickers grabbing a cocktail before a big night out.
An impressive cocktail menu by recently appointed bar manager and mixologist Andrew Watson-Calderon, along with chef-owner Michael Moore’s food offerings – a welcome departure from revolving restaurants’ all-you-can-eat buffets – might be what’s turning the tables at this establishment.
Begin the evening with one of Watson-Calderon’s concoctions – a Pineapple Punch with bourbon, treacle, Angostura bitters, pineapple and citrus, say, if you’re craving a pick-me-up, or Poolside Caprioska with vodka, fresh-pressed watermelon juice, lemongrass and spiced rum if you want to feel like you’re in Bali.
Then make your way to the dining area, complete with dark tables and mood lighting, for Moore’s more-ish fare. Seared scallops with smoked bacon and sticky mustard-infused eggplant make a pleasant entrée, John Dory escabeche spiked with chilli and tinted with saffron delivers a satisfying main course, while a coconut and spiced-pineapple soufflé with a dash of rum will take care of the sweet cravings.
The stars of the show, however, are the views – drink them up with an espresso martini, a beautiful way to cap off the experience.
Location: Level 47, Australia Square, 264 George Street, Sydney; (02) 9247 9777
Cuisine: Modern Australian
Atmosphere: Lashings of wood, velvet and leather, attracting a suave young crowd
Seats: 100 in the bar area and 200 in the restaurant
Open: Fridays for lunch and seven days for dinner
Big tick: Well-spaced tables
Must try: The John Dory escabeche