• Set lunch special at No35 (Sofitel, Melbourne)

It is somehow grounding to be taken up high.  It is as if one can orientate oneself from above and truly see a city’s beauty.  I had not been to eat at the Sofitel on Collins Street since the days of Le Restaurant.  No35 (on level 35 of the Sofitel building) is now reinvigorating the hotel’s dining with beautiful views and food to match.

Head Chef, Martin Horsley, was born in England before commencing his career in Scotland and then Australia.  He prides himself on using the best local and fresh produce to drive flavour.

We were committed to the set menu and began with a cream of corn soup with lime and chilli salsa.  It was so light that it was almost a froth with basil oil and big fresh corn kernels bringing delightful flavours.  There was also popped corn and a basil panna cotta like a mousse on top.  The combination delicately danced on my tongue.

Whilst there were no vegetarian mains on the set menu, one was arranged without hesitation.  It was a risotto with a variety of carrots – heirlooms, caracas, yellow sun.  The carrots were warm but firm.  A soft goats’ curd was placed on top.  The risotto itself  was moist and well cooked without being gluggy.  It was a flavoursome and well made dish.

Wine was a 2013 Mount Macleod Pinot Noir from Gippsland.  It held tannins with a slight raspberry and a dark ruby colour.

The coffee was flavoursome and well made.

Whilst the decor and service are clean and classy, there was a function at the other end of the restaurant, so that bursts of loud chatter arose as the group flowed from presentations to casual conversations.  With hard floors and no sound absorption, this took away from what may have otherwise been a refined atmosphere.

The set lunch menu includes two courses, a glass of wine and tea or coffee for $45.   For a special lunch, this is good value worthy of an occasion.  The view somehow gives a touch of glamour and decadence, as does the decor, service and my own memories of dinging at the Sofitel years ago for one of my first ever degustations.  The food and aspect have modernised since then, as has my experience of fine dining.

Level 35
25 Collins St
Melbourne 3000
03 9653 7744

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