19 July 2012

Sydney Harbour Marriott Icons Brasserie: Seafood Buffet, CBD Sydney (9 July 2012)

Level 2, 30 Pitt Street, Sydney NSW 2000

Eating your money's worth

A tempting $29 Seafood Buffet Lunch promotional special available Monday and Tuesday brought me to try Icons Brasserie. The key in my books to getting your money's worth is to hit the seafood hard and avoid the breads, salads and too much of the hot dishes although I usually try and sample everything. I managed 36 Sydney rock oysters, 12 prawns, 2 salads, smoked salmon, 5 hot dishes, 1 chilli prawn stir fry, half a slice of bread with butter, 11 desserts (shared), 4 pieces of cheese with crackers and a few jelly beans. The oysters were very small and missing most of their brine you'd hope for but still sweet and quite nice. Timing is everything with the oysters so I recommend waiting for the tray to be replenished then swooping in to get the best pick of the tray. Prawns were surprisingly decent sized and pretty fresh. There was quite a good range of salad to choose from or make your own but seriously who makes friends with salad at a buffet although it's good to probably fit in a few greens. The cooked fish and chicken were my preferred hot dishes of the day and for dessert the Panna Cotta with berry compote, Crème brûlée and Double choc mousse cups were the favourites I'd happily have again. Table service was friendly and polite (Michael) and the shell bowl and dirty plates were taken away in a timely manner. Wine by the glass was expensive so I think the wine buffet could be a better option for diners thinking of having more than two glasses.

PROS: Promotional Lunch Special is reasonably priced, Good range of dish options, Quality was better than I expected, Nice decor and open space, Table service was friendly and polite (Michael), You can eat as much as you like, Dishes were replenished in a timely manner
CONS: Eating too much can cause indigestion, Oysters were very small, Wine by the glass is expensive, Only one hand bowl provided on the table (not the nicest thing to share)
MUST TRY: Avoid eating bread and go straight for the oysters and prawns but don't forget to leave room for desserts
VERDICT: A better than expected experience that suits small or larger groups looking for a pleasant dining experience that provides lots of dish choices — and no arguments about bill splitting
Matua Valley Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough, NZ ($11/glass) — quaffable but not cheap

Dish 1: I always start with oysters and prawns. Oysters are very small but sweet and quite nice although mostly missing brine. Prawns are large and easy to peel and pretty fresh.

Dish 2: A second lot of oysters and prawns is my usual tactic with a bit of salad to tick the healthy box.

Dish 3: If the oysters and prawns are pretty good I'll go another round but the hot dishes tend to make an appearance too.

Dish 4: I spotted a fresh batch of oysters replenished so thought I'd pick the best ones at the time.
Dish 5: I spotted the stir fry station with Chilli Prawns as the special of the day. Already peeled for easy eating and were quite flavoursome.

Dish 6: Now that I've tried all the hot dishes I wanted I usually go back for another plate of oysters before dessert. It's one of those moments where I get my money's worth I think.

Dish 7: Dessert time — the cannoli was a bit dry and crumbly but the Panna Cotta with berry compote, Crème brûlée and Double choc mousse cups were good.

Dish 8: All steam ahead with desserts — jelly as expected, carrot cake quite nice, pavlova good but more ratio of meringue would have better and cheesecake surprisingly nice and not too heavy.

Dish 9: Final run of dessert with a nice enough Chocolate croissant pudding with creme anglaise, too firm Crème caramel, quite rich but decent Chocolate mud cake helped along by freshly whipped cream. Not sure why I got the jelly beans — maybe because they were just there.

Dish 10: For those that don't like desserts they usually go for the cheeses. The brie was the best of the lot while I found all the other cheeses quite uninspiring on flavour. No sign of a blue cheese — perhaps too expensive for a buffet.

Little oysters just means you can eat more of them

Decent sized prawns

Smoked salmon, anti pasto and salads

Salads and bread — probably the stuff I tend to avoid at an all you can eat buffet

Hot dishes — the cooked fish was very nice and roast tender enough

More hot dishes — the chicken tulips in teriyaki sauce were tasty but the pie was a bit short on meat and the potato gratin not as flavoursome as hoped


Breads and cheeses

Bread and butter — sometimes you just have to try it, but not too much or you'll get too full from it and then they have won!

Shell bowl — was collected and emptied quite often which was a good sign service was doing their job properly.

Friendly service at the stir fry station — Would be great if they could add a Salt & Pepper Squid to the menu

Glasses of wine start from $10 which isn't cheap

Wine buffet is $24 at lunch and $29 at dinner so if you're thinking of drinking more than 2 glasses of wine this would be a winner for the drinkers

Not much of a view outside but it's a nice light and open space

Tables aren't too squashed together giving ample room to stack on a few extra kilos during the feasting

Table supports get a tick from me — nice and flat

Impressive open foyer space


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Sara - Belly Rumbles said...

The promotional prices seems a bargain. The oysters look like nice medium Sydney rocks, which are my preferred. Shame about 1 finger bowl per table. Looks like a nice variety for a buffet.

Richard Elliot said...

I can't believe you are so much at the buffet. You are an eating machine!

Anonymous said...

Thank you Simon for passing on this great deal! Icons Brassiere’s buffet looks like a feast for only $29.00. We're definitely going to try as we have some birthday’s coming up.

BGDino said...

Took my boyfriend here for dinner on Saturday night when they bring out the Alaskan King Crab legs and lobsters... At $100 a head it wasnt cheap but it's the first time I've eaten 2 garlic lobster halves AND a bowl of garlic prawns... Among other things...

Simon Leong said...

hi sara, i'm actually checking out their lobster dinner deal soon so looking forward to seeing what their lobster is like.

hi richard, i can't believe i ate that much too when i look back at it. i'm obviously very well trained in the art of eating.

hi anonymous, would suit a birthday with a large group very well, especially if you get the wine buffet too. and there'll be no confusion about the bill after too.

hi BGDino, $100 for alaskan king crab and lobster sounds pretty good to me if it's good. did you enjoy them? i'd be keen to try that one too.

gaby @ lateraleating said...

Wow, you did get your money's worth! Food looks okay, but desserts look very ordinary.

Simon Leong said...

hi gaby, actually some of the desserts were better than expected and there's plenty of choice. have a friend organising a dinner their so my aim is to beat my oyster record :-)

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