You may not have heard of The Wilmot or its chef but you have probably unknowingly walked passed it dozens of times as it’s located right in the heart of Sydney on Pitt Street.
Housed inside an iconic 1930’s Art Deco building formerly the headquarters of the Sydney Water Board, the five-star Primus Hotel opened its doors at this heritage-listed location in December 2015. Under the helm of current Executive Chef Ryan Hong, The Wilmot, inside the hotel lobby and named after the laneway adjacent to the hotel, serves contemporary cuisine with an Asian twist to both guests and walk-ins.
On the night of our visit, seven choices of entrees, seven mains and five desserts were on the menu. If you decide to have a full three-course meal, it will only set you back $60, which is cheap by any standard, let alone in an upmarket hotel. But what do you get for sixty dollars?
The service is certainly befitting of a five star hotel – napkins are unfolded and placed on our laps, our coats are removed and stored, a dropped knife is swiftly replaced by another without having to request it. The staff are helpful, knowledgeable and always on-hand when needed.
Before deciding on our three courses we indulged ourselves slightly by ordering the Sterling Royale Caviar (additional charge applies). This was beautifully presented with a dozen Merimbula oysters on a bed of ice. Caviar is something of an acquired taste albeit one that can be acquired by the second teaspoonful; the tiny eggs pop on your tongue one by one delivering creamy and nutty flavours with a hint of the sea. Fantastically expensive but also uniquely delicious. The knowledgeable recommended champagne to pair with the delicacy.
Examination of the menu showed a mixture of classic and standard fare – the entrees included ingredients such as rabbit, kangaroo, bonito and kohlrab alongside pork belly and squid. Rabbit Tortellini isn’t something we come across on the menu very often; it was exquisitely bathed in a smoked ham broth enhancing the delicate flavour of the meat. The pasta was cooked al dente, providing contrasting texture to the tender meat. Fruity and aromatic Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc (additional charge applies) from Marlborough in New Zealand was a match made in heaven with the tortellini.
Benito is more commonly used as garnish in Japanese cuisine, pan fried fillet is a rare opportunity to appreciate the natural character of the fish. The trick with this entree was to ensure that each forkful contained every ingredient on the plate – the fish was accompanied by goat curd, pea and mint salad as well as a dusting of Japanese Seven Spice powder. The combination was sensational with each ingredient playing a part in delivering a memorable mouthful of food.
The main menu was a crowd pleaser too ranging from beef cheek, wagyu sirloin steak, trevalla to John Dory. The Sous-Vide Lamb Rump was served medium rare and accompanied by a spinach puree and eggplant and capsicum salsa. Every mouthful was consistently superb and flawless.
The Wagyu Sirloin Steak was served with bone marrow, a somewhat exotic ingredient for the western palate. The meat itself was dark brown on the outside with slight caramelisation and evenly pink in the centre. This detail was a testament of the seemingly simple but perfectly executed cooking skill.
The Deconstructed Banoffee Pie was an explosion of flavours from salted caramel chocolate ganache, caramelised banana, and vanilla shortbread ice-cream, a mixture of savoury, sweet, cold, warm, and creamy and crunchy, all magically blended into one mouthful in harmony.
Persimmon Sponge Cake was fluffy and soft, contrasted by sugared almonds, and crunchy honeycomb before the white chocolate cream brought the entire dish together. The transition of texture and flavours was seamless and left you craving more.
So for $60, you get a three course meal from an innovative menu, presented exquisitely, made up of quality ingredients with world-class culinary skills and impeccable service. At this price, it’s not just tremendous value for money, it’s a steal. The Wilmot in the five-star Primus Hotel is well truly a hidden gem. Get in early before the secret gets out.
The Wilmot, Primus Hotel
339 Pitt St, Sydney NSW
Phone: (02) 8027 8000