US-based Salt Hotels Chief Executive David Bowd and Creative Director Kevin O’Shea visited Australia in February this year and clearly fell head over heels in love with Sydney. This was Kevin’s first visit to Sydney. David’s last trip was 15 years ago and he found it fascinating to see how much the city has grown, in particular the culinary scene. David believes Sydney is now “very comparable to New York or London when it comes to great dining and has the added advantage of wonderful, personal, friendly and attentive service”. They enjoyed Bill’s Cafe in Bondi, the Newport Arms, Coogee Pavilion, and all of the beaches in Sydney but, more than anything else, they loved Sean’s Panaroma, a modern Australian restaurant open since 1993 in North Bondi. This is their review…
On our recent trip to Sydney, friends of ours were eager to take us to their favorite spot in the city and it was a truly memorable experience at Sean’s Panaroma. Tucked into the East end of Bondi, this quaint restaurant headed up by Sean Moran serves a daily-changing menu in a relaxed atmosphere that feels more like the setting of a private dinner party. What seemed like a very on-trend ‘farm to table’ concept at first has, in fact, been trendsetting in this location for almost 25 years. This was one of many facts we learned when chef Sean greeted our party as though we had just stepped foot into his own home for the evening and, in a way, we had.
Sean’s is only open four nights a week; the rest of the week they spend at their farm where most of the food we dined on is lovingly grown and harvested. The dining room is intimate – 45 seats, all with sweeping views of Bondi. It is an ethereal setting, with ocean breezes wafting in and the evening light fading as we tucked into an hearty bottle of Malbec. Sean’s is all about juxtapositions; dressed up diners with views of scantily-clad beach goers; eclectic vintage art and rustic tables contrasted with exceptionally attentive service and considered details like the freshly picked wild roses adorning each table.
The menu is structured into three sections: entrees, mains, and desserts, and there are four daily options in each category. The menu is well balanced offering the right mix of vegetarian dishes to meat, fish and game. Our server gave a very detailed description of each dish including the provenance of many of the ingredients, a fact that delighted us as it is so rare in our modern world to understand where our food actually comes from.
Between our party of six we managed to order most of the menu and there was a lot of plate passing so we could all experience the complex flavor compositions, rustic preparations and the overall freshness of each dish. Favorites included the Chook Livers with Currant Grapes and Pancetta, Nannygai filet grilled with melt-in-your-mouth fennel and saltbush, and for dessert the Peach Tartlet 3 Ways was encased in what can only be described as heaven reincarnated into a shortcrust.
To find out more about Sean’s Panaroma, Bondi, click here.
To find out more about Salt Hotels, click here.