When you have 3 kids, the amount of soirées at the restaurant get seriously reduced… When you manage to go out, fine dining is out of the question with the rugrats. So when Nana Bev kindly offers to keep an eye on them, you book a few months in advance and treat yourself to the best.
Wendell and I chose Bennelong at Sydney Opera House by Peter Gilmore.
The restaurant is set up in the Sydney Opera House, in one of the “sails”. It is a truly magical setting, especially at night.
Sydney’s skyline, all lit up, is a particularly wonderful restaurant backdrop for an eternal tourist such as I.
The atmosphere inside is pretty dark which makes the view pop our but is a curse for a food photographer… I am so sorry for these very grainy photos but I had to share this wonderful meal with you.
Something I appreciated very much in this room is the fact that despite the high ceilings and the many tables you can easily talk and be heard by your fellow fine diners.
Ok, so let me take you through what Wendell and I chose and shared half-half as usual.
Smoked Blackmore Wagyu tartare with fermented chilli paste, cultured cream & grains, mushrooms, seaweed, egg.
This was nothing like a traditional steak tartare but it was delicious and interesting. The shock of soft and crunchy. The taste of chilli without too much heat.
Mini-scallops with XO sauce, radish and white garlic cream.
This was to die for. The scallops were minuscule and succulent. The radishes were crunchy and tasty. I suspect they come from the lovely Blue Mountains’ farmers Erika & Hayden from Epicurean Harvest.
Roasted new season lamb, sea parsley, olives, capers, zucchini, lemon, almond.
The lamb was so tender, the sauce rich in taste and silky, the vegetables crunchy and full of flavour.
Roasted Holmbrae duck, raw & pickled hispi cabbage, black miso, freekeh, seaweed.
My first thought was “why seaweed and duck?” I’ve seen ducks swimming in the see in Ithaca in Greece but I always thought it was strange. I trusted Peter Gilmore and I was right. It was a great combination.
Crème caramel vs mille-feuille.
This was just delightful. A de-constructed mix of two desserts: explosions of caramel, soft bits, crunchy bits, creamy flavours, strong flavours. It is a great dessert.
This is the iconic dessert which looks absolutely stunning (unlike my photo taken in near total darkness) it has a tangy raspberry centre and creamy outside with delicate meringue sails.
This dinner was a fun event, a culinary voyage. I loved it. The service was impeccable, waiters were funny and helpful.
The dishes were very clever, interesting and balanced. I only regretted that the servings were a little bit small for my big appetite. Also, I know that degustation menus are totally out of fashion but I’ve always been a great fan. See, I don’t go out like a food critic and once I’m hitting town I want to get all the good things coming out of it. A degustation menu is a marvellous way to enter the world of a great chef without having to go seven times in his restaurant. I wish Peter Gilmore offered one.
After dinner, I recommend a “digestive” walk around the Opera.
Sydney, NSW 2000
Friday to Sunday 12pm – 2pm
Daily 5.30pm & 6pm
Daily 6.30pm – 10pm
10pm – 11pm Cured & Cultured only
NOTE: this is not a sponsored.