We had promised some friends we would take them out for dinner to celebrate their wedding which we were unable to attend. Looking for somewhere for such a wonderful occasion, I thought No 35 in the Sofitel would be the perfect place for stunning views and exceptional service.
ATMOSPHERE & SERVICE
We arrived a bit earlier than anticipated so started with a drink in the stunning lobby bar, ‘Atrium Bar on 35’ before making our way inside. Located on the 35th floor of the hotel (given the name), you won’t find much of a view from the bar, however the views inside the restaurant are breathtaking.
The service in the bar was relaxed and quite slow, considering there were only a few tables seated. We got our drinks right when we had to go inside for dinner, which meant we had to quickly finish our cocktails before moving inside.
Inside the restaurant, floor to ceiling windows line the venue, with unobstructed views of the city. It was a clear night, so we had a wonderful view of the city skyline. Black and white tiled floors, red accent chairs and gorgeous light fixtures filled the narrow space. We were seated next to the kitchen, so there was quite a bit of foot traffic going by us throughout the night.
I was surprised with the lack of service we received throughout the night. Our water and wine glasses were always empty and constantly had to ask for a refill. We had to wave down our waitress down to take our food orders and were overcharged on multiple items. When asked for the dessert menu, it was presented but then we were forgot about. Again we had to get the attention of our waitress to take our orders. I was truly embarrassed to have brought our friends here.
No 35 offers contemporary, European dishes, using the freshest local ingredients. We started with a few shared entrees, which was a perfect way to start our night while we waited for our mains to arrive.
MC ordered the ‘Natural Oysters’, which were freshly shucked. Unfortunately, whoever shucked the oysters didn’t do the best job as they all had small broken pieces of shell in them.
Out next was the ‘King Salmon Ceviche’ served with avocado puree and cassava crackers. The salmon was well seasoned and was paired nicely with the avocado puree.
I ordered the ‘Wagyu Bresaola’ which was served with grilled fig and blue cheese. I loved the contrasting flavours of the sweet and savoury from the fig and blue cheese. The bresaola was thinly sliced and worked well paired with the other elements on the dish.
Our final entree was the ‘Sticky Char Siu Pork Bun’ with pickled vegetables and plum sauce. Surprising this was one of the better dishes of the night.
For mains, I ordered the ‘Roasted Free Range Hazeldene’s Chicken Breast’ with creamed wild mushrooms, garden peas, English spinach, and saffron gnocchi. There were some wonderful flavours from the mushroom sauce and fresh peas, however the chicken was well over cooked and dry.
MC ordered the ‘John Dee Wagyu Marble +7’ served with a parsley, caper and shallot salad, truffle mayonnaise, house butter and grilled bone marrow. This was the most disappointing dish of the night. The entire cut of meat was fat and inedible. The waitress said she would remove it from the bill as he couldn’t eat it, however was never done.
For dessert, MC ordered the ‘Rich Chocolate Brownie’ with white chocolate bavarois, chocolate brownie, chocolate foam, honeycomb, chocolate 10’s & 1000’s. The name says it all, it was a very rich dish, but delicious! Perfect to be shared with someone else.
Unfortunately this experience has left us upset and embarrassed that we had chosen somewhere that failed on both a service and food level. I guess we should have stuck with somewhere we knew would be good instead of testing somewhere new for such a special occasion.