Perched atop the hill beside one of Sydney’s better views, Icebergs Dining Room and Bar has become synonymous with the higher side of Sydney’s dining scene. There’s top al a carte food – Italian inspired, for the most part – and an inimitable view.
For a long time Icebergs was praised for the buzz and the view of the beach. The food and wine list dallied for a while, but now it’s caught up. Chef Monty Kulodrvic has spread his wings after coming out from under the Becasse fold. There his art was superb and yet somehow he has evolved still farther into his own. Kulodrvic is a unique culinary talent with a deep understanding of season and produce.
While food can be pretty, it’s important to note it’s not art. You go to a restaurant to eat and the chef’s there to feed you. But when the black kingfish with pickled spelt, rye, trout roe and radish salad arrived at the table, I felt like taking to it with cutlery would be akin to taking to Guernica with a texta. But once it was in the mouth, the guilt was gone. There were differences in temperature, texture, flavour. By the end, the canvas was bare.
When you decide to eat at a place like Icebergs, you expect consistencies across the board. Your credit card won’t forgive mediocrity. After ordering two glasses of white wine I was impressed to see the waiter proffering both bottles before pouring a taste. At somewhere like Icebergs - where fine and fancy is at the crux of what they do - this is how it should be done.
A glass of the right wine - and the list is comprehensive, approachable - was matched beautifully with spicy clams slow cooked with Berkshire Pork and nuggets of airlight crackling. Tinder Creek Duck, autumn braised vegetables, fig and pistachio sauce wasn’t quite as rare as I’d hoped, but was nonetheless flavoursome, accompanied with a sweet and nutty texture.
A dessert of grapefruit and Campari granita, Italian meringue, crisp meringue wafers, beetroot sorbet, creme fraiche was showered with a deep purple beetroot powder, and to finish, is a smart and savvy dish. The sorbet’s certainly savoury, but sweet enough to remind you the meal’s all but over. If you share, expect a tussle between spoons.
Don’t expect to come to Icebergs and eat on a budget. You’re doing yourself and the restaurant a disservice. Come for the first rate produce, the interesting interplay of textures and temperatures, flavours and colours. Come for the nonchalant yet knowledgeable service, the buzz of the beach, and the food that may just be moonlighting as art. Just don’t feel too guilty when it comes time to dig in.