Please allow me to preface this with the fact that neither the SO nor I like dining in hotels. Many hotel restaurants are disappointing (how many times have you had a bland hotel buffet breakfast of limp bacon, watered down scrambled eggs and ho-hum sausages?) and quite frankly, the element of exploration makes for a much more enjoyable experience when you’re in a different city than dining right where you’d be spending the night.
In saying that, the Queen’s birthday long weekend’s doom and gloom weather forecast seemed to have been hogwash, but the skies finally opened on Sunday evening and we were stuck in our hotel room. Neither of us was motivated to brave the weather, so instead we headed to the Intermezzo Italian Restaurant at the Westin Sydney lobby for dinner.
Both the Westin and Intermezzo Italian Restaurant are located in the historic General Post Office (GPO) building right in the heart of Sydney’s CBD. You can hardly miss it for its imposing sandstone work of large archways and carvings. The original courtyard was converted into an atrium, where part of the Intermezzo Italian Restaurant’s dining area is situated. In fact, the restaurant’s dining area is divided into three distinct areas: the atrium, the ‘restaurant’ and the pavement facing Martin Place.
Two dishes stood out for us: Calamari Fritti alla Napoletana and Pesce con Gamberi. The batter coating the calamari was very light and almost tempura-like. I love a good batter that doesn’t overwhelm its host, especially when it had to be dipped into something as delicate as the chilli oil. We adored that chilli oil – it certainly had the strong flavour profile of chilli in there, but lacked the heat.
The Pesce con Gamberi was fantastic because of the crispy skin snapper. Many restaurants who have offered crispy skin fish deliver lack lustre fish, but in this case, they delivered a piece of fish with an amazingly crisp skin that rivals a good pork crackling for flavour and crunch. So while almost every review I read about Intermezzo Italian Restaurant mentions their linguine scampi (I wasn’t about to leave without having a taste of my own), my vote goes to the fish instead.