STAFF at Stamford Grand North Ryde are getting in the festive spirit early this year with a new Christmas dining menu.
The hotel's luxurious Captain Cook's Cove Restaurant has altered its usual seafood-inspired buffet to take on a Christmas feel with warm wholesome foods.
Photographer Gene Ramirez and I started with a fried calamari ($20) entree which was tenderly cooked with Szechuan pepper spices and served with a mildly spicy homemade sweet chilli sauce.
The delectable entry whet our appetites for the two main courses to follow.
I opted for the mouth-watering slow roasted ham ($22) which was served with fresh pineapple, sweet potatoes and topped off with a lively mustard sauce.
Gene tried the Christmas turkey roast ($22) which lived up to its reputation as one of the picks of the Christmas dining menu.
This turkey dish was cooked to perfection and came with softly baked sweet potatoes and a sweet cranberry sauce.
To finish our meal the kitchen staff tempted us with two eye-catching Christmas decorated desserts.
My chocolate fudge tart ($15) came in a delicate pastry casing making the richly flavoured contents almost impossible to resist.
For the second dessert, head chef Joseph Lunandi recommended the popular pavlova ($14) which was a softly crafted meringue with strawberries, kiwi fruit, passionfruit and raspberry cream.
Details: Stamford Grand, corner Epping and Herring roads, North Ryde, 9888 1077.
■ The writer and photographer Gene Ramirez ate courtesy of the restaurant.