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  • Writer's pictureElite Curated

The Sanderson, Sydney: An EC Review

Updated: Jan 28

Unsuspectingly tucked away two floors up in the newly refurbished 285 George Street is what is best described as a grand, New York City/London-esque culinary experience. Since opening in May this year (2023), The Sanderson has been welcomed with open arms by the Harbour City, bookings are hard to come by and its nature of exclusivity, subtleness and non-pretentious dining seems to be appealing to Sydneysiders. Dining here took me straight back to Manhattan, and the timing of experiencing The Sanderson in late December during the Christmas season only added to its opulent magic.

It feels as though service is of paramount importance here, where black tie staff cater to your every need and you’ll find during your experience that you won’t have to ask for anything, because the staff will ask you. In what I describe as a semi-interactive experience, The Sanderson offers tableside service for a selection of dishes, the blue label whisky luge (we’ll get there) and spanner crab salad. The menu itself is essentially a mix of modern-Australian and a traditional steakhouse. The Sanderson embraces its use of modern Australian produce and mixes a delightful mix of playfulness and decadence into your overall experience.

the sanderson sydney

The Dining Room

Something about the use of dark woods with gold accents instantly creates a rich atmosphere. Walking into The Sanderson you’ll pass the semi-open kitchen where the lobsters, oysters, caviar and Dom Perignon sit. All it takes is one look… “damn, gonna have to get the caviar bump.” When you step into the dimly lit dining room, warm lights reflect off the navy walls and bounce off the dark wood walls that contribute to the lux aura. French paintings line the walls and illustrate the perfect blend of Picasso and Van Gogh.

Peak through the timber windows at the cityscape blend of heritage and modern office towers as you indulge in your slice of Manhattan right here in Sydney. Perched against the back wall are tables with semi-circle booths which have always made a restaurant feel more intimate. There is a trio of deer head and antler statues mounted to the wall near the bar in addition to the extensive wines on offer showcased on all the walls. Now for the main event, bring it on.

Image: The Sanderson

Wine & Dine

Let’s start with what we ordered, keep in mind this is a group of 5 men….

12x Sydney rock oysters

2x Siberian caviar bump

1x King prawn toast, saffron, truffle, nasturtium

1x Tuna tartare, bone marrow, caper

1x Scallop ceviche, avocado, jalapeno, coriander

5x Roasted bone marrow, charcuterie vinaigrette, salsa verde, crostini + johnnie walker blue luge

1x Grain fed scotch fillet, 300g, mbs 2

1x Grass fed scotch fillet, 500g, mbs 4 (special)

1x Grass fed rib eye, 1kg, mbs 4 (special)

1x Pineapple bomb alaska, coconut, plantation rum, black lime

Wine, beers and port, numerous bottles…

Your feasting experience starts with a shot of a strange green shot in a brass antlered–shot glass, which tastes like a mix of green juice with some sort of liquor. As your designated wait staff caters to your beer, wine and spirit needs it’s time to scan the menu for how much bone marrow you’re going to order..uh, I mean what you’re going to order. The menu is split into multiple parts which see your typical three course meal turn into a blend of 3-5 courses, depending on how you see it.

the sanderson sydney
Image: The Sanderson

To begin, we chose oysters and caviar, because that’s how every 5 star dining experience should start. The oysters tasted fresh and high quality, the caviar bump was more of an experience compared to a tasting, but still salty and sweet. Moving onto starters, these are sold by the singular piece, I opted for the king prawn toast and tuna tartare. The prawn toast was faultless and a real explosion of flavour. The tuna tartare was served inside a bone like that of bone marrow, and it was spectacular. It’s hard to serve a bad tuna tartare, so I would say it’s comparable to some of the other elite tuna tartare I’ve had in my lifetime.

Let’s progress to the undeniable show stopper. Bone. Marrow. This was my first experience with roasted bone marrow and I’ve never eaten anything where I thought I could develop a serious and costly addiction too, until now. This is probably the closest thing to tasting heaven. Once you’ve gnawed, licked and sucked every inch of edible bone marrow from your bone (without shame), your wait staff will commence the whisky luge. You tilt your head back, bone in mouth, and staff pour Johnnie Walker blue down the bone and into your mouth. The blue label lathers your tastebuds and powers a smokey, fatty tang from the bone marrow. 

For the main event, staff bring round a leather satchel of 10-15 steak knives, asking you to choose which you’d like to use for your mains. Post my selection of what looks like a game of thrones machete, I went for the 300g grain fed scotch fillet, which was perfectly cooked, tender, juicy and well seasoned. I can’t comment on everyone’s respective meals fairly as I didn’t taste them, however all steaks had a crispy dark char and juicy body.

After some classic round table debate whether there was any room for dessert, the debate ended quickly when you realise there is always room for dessert. So, the bomb Alaska was ordered for myself. This is a chef’s kiss to the dessert world, it’s the pinnacle of post-savoury indulgence. A cold pineapple-filled centre is surrounded by a meringue cream exterior that is flamed and browned, and then the staff put on a show as they serve it and light up the whole dish again with an open flame. What seems to be a common occurrence is the staff ‘putting on a show’ for several dishes. There is even a section of the menu titled Guéridion Service where the two options (beef tartare and spanner crab salad) are prepared tableside.

Image: The Sanderson

In Summary

Would I book again? YES.

Reserve! Reserve! Reserve! This is a must for the Sydney dining scene. If I had to sum The Sanderson up in one word, it would be sophisticated. As it’s relatively new, secretive in its location and subtle in its online persona, this restaurant is sure to be the talk of the town in a matter of months and I have no doubts it will be a hatted restaurant in 2024.

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