What is a Friday in summer without a long lunch shared between best friends made up of simple, approachable dishes and a glass of the most bountiful white (I’ve ever had)? Justin took me to Pei Modern, the new restaurant in Sydney’s Four Seasons Hotel. Although the restaurant was bustling, it felt intimate and like, for a moment, the day had taken a moment to pause for us as the hot summer afternoon drew long into our desserts.
Having knocked out confining walls and replaced stuffy chandeliers with airy, light-filled spaces, the Four Seasons’ new restaurant, Pei Modern, shows the exciting direction the hotel is headed in. If you haven’t visited in a while, you’re in for a treat.
Mark Best and the Four Seasons team have turned the lobby and bar space in the hotel into a brilliant blank canvas. The result is that the attention has been easily turned to the patrons, the food and the service.
We started with the ocean trout with piel de sapo melon which reminded me so much of my father drinking ice-cold Turkish raki with feta and honeydew melons in the summer with his friends.
The salty trout and the sweet melon were the perfect starting point to move onto the beef tartare which was served on toast with local sea urchin and horseradish.
To all of my fellow cheese lovers out there, please go and try the burrata. It’ll blow your mind. Not only is this dish a work of art, but the gentle flavours of each individual component come together to make something truly magic. The burrata, kohlrabi, broad beans and egg yolk jam are scattered with dandelion flowers and has a beautifully rustic feel to it: fresh and delicate. This seemed to become the theme for the rest of the menu too.
The chefs at Pei Modern clearly understand comfort food. We went, as the menu suggested, cray-cray and devoured the casarecce, chicken dumplings and reggiano which warmed the heart with its buttery reggiano sauce.
We just about inhaled the salmon tail cooked on the bone with samphire and rouille. The salmon flaked and fell away from the bone like they had never been friends, yet the skin was magically crisp.
We somehow managed to munch our way through heavenly sebago hand-cut chips until we were about to pop at the seams.
And then dessert arrived. And this treat truly needs no introduction. It’s the meringue, white chocolate ganache and blueberries.
Here’s my small plea to the Pei Modern team: please write a small recipe book and share your secrets with us all. The food is so easy to appreciate, the menu so simple to understand and the space so approachable. Even if they’re just a few hints as to how the horseradish on the tartare was made or some instructions for the reggiano sauce on the casarecce, my kitchen would be all the better.
An enormous thank you to the team at Pei Modern and the Four Seasons Hotel Sydney for having me and Justin. A particular mention to Hansni, Gemma, Annabelle and Tara for their generous hospitality and for making us feel so welcome. I can see why so many people wish to call the place home.