For many years, the Swissotel has been celebrating Vitality week (20-26 March 2017). The JPB Restaurant is located within the 5 star Swissotel and the guests can also enjoy their vitality special menu which is a on-going fixture on the menu at JPB Restaurant. I personally need a good injection of vitality. I've been very naughty.The Swissotel is located in central Sydney CBD on market st, a few metres from Pitt St Mall. I've never walked into the Swissotel before although I've been to their next store neighbour - Myer - several times. As I walk through the sleek and modern Swissotel to get into JPB Restaurant to attend this media event, I wonder what all the hotel guests are up to and whether they are enjoying the rainy Sydney weather.
I talk to Cliff - a manager at Swissotel and he tells me that the guests have been enjoying a whole host of events during Vitality week (20-26 March 2017) including locally brewed kombucha tea, Sydney landmark walks, breakfast specials such as chia seed oatmeal porridge and key materials to digitally detox.
I start to reflect on how much time I spend on my phone and ponder undertaking a digital detox myself. I am constantly checking my phone and it's very habitual. My mind also turns to how many servings of fruit and vegetables I consume in a day.
ST, my workmate is with me and we both start talking about kale. We both agree that the carrot, pineapple, mint and apple fruit shot sounds more agreeable with the tastebuds. These juice shots are a great kick off to vitality.
ST also enjoys some fresh oysters with finger limes. I've never seen a finger lime before but apparently they are native to Australia and come in a few different colours.
Now onto the at JPB restaurant. It's been the work from Josh Askew (Exec Chef, photo below) and his team who uses sustainable and seasonal produce. He will often forage local ingredients so that it's a farm to fork experience. Josh tells me about the roof top where the bees live and produce fresh honey for the JPB menu. I hope the bees are thriving and enjoying the majestic Sydney views up there.
I hope to one day try Josh Askew's finalist dish from the Ōra King Awards which was a paper barked smoked Ōra King Salmon with warrigal greens puree, puffed wild rice, pickled beetroot and sea spray. On this particular day though, Josh shows off the weekday vitality menu aka the "Lunch with benefits" served in 45mins from 12pm to 3pm (look at the menu in above photo).
The dish that Josh puts together is a tuna poke bowl. It's a poke bowl which is made of fresh yellow fin tuna, cassava crispy shards with bok choy, radish, cucumber and seaweed. The rice is also topped with crispy fried onion. Poke really seems to be taking off in Sydney, with having origins in Hawaii, it really shows off the combination of fresh ingredients.
I personally really enjoyed this dish as I absolutely love the marinade that Josh puts the tuna in. Along with the crunchy cassava (a south american vegetable) and the refreshing textures of the seaweed and cucumber - they make a small party in my mouth. I resist eating too much rice and save my calories.
I have to say though Mexican Bowl was also incredibly addictive. I can't resist prawns and absolutely am a sucker for beans, guac, tomato and corn chips. There's something about the fresh ingredients like tomato, guac mixed in with the warmer elements like the quinoa and prawns. There's a good portion of prawns which is probably the largest enticer.
The crowd favourite of all the vitality bowls seems to be the poached chicken that is served up with green tea soba noodles, fresh avocado, cabbage, edamame beans, cucumber, carrot and sesame seeds. The highlight of this dish is those flavoursome green tea soba noodles with the chicken and the edamame beans.
If you want to avoid carbs and have more of a protein main - Another choice of main as part of the Vitality lunch menu is a "power protein". On this occasion, I sample the pan seared Ōra King Salmon power protein with fennel, radish, asparagus, labneh, roasted almonds, wild rocket with dill oil. I prefer the vitality bowls as there's more variety in texture and ingredients and also I can't live without carbs but the flakey and moist salmon may be your preference.
It would make for a good business lunch meeting or catching up with some friends over a 'healthy' lunch.
Price: $25 for the weekday vitality lunch special.
Location: Lvl 8, 68 Market St, Sydney (near Myer).
Weekend Food Escapes dined as guests of Accor Hotels. All words, opinions and photo are my own.