What could be more quintessentially Sydney than a meal enjoyed above the glittering sights and sounds of the harbour? Sure, there are countless fine eating establishments sprinkled throughout the harbour city, but there are few who occupy a space inside one Sydney's most iconic pieces of architecture.
That's why the re-opening of Bennelong under new management and executive chef Peter Gilmore is so thrilling. The restaurant is the latest acquisition in The Fink Group's portfolio, which now includes Quay, OTTO Ristorante, The Bridge Room and Surry Hills' newbie Firedoor.
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The newly refurbished restaurant is spread out over three tiers of the Opera House and offers a selection of dining experiences. Choose the lower level for Gilmore's modern Australian offerings (think: morsels of Lady Elliot Island bug or roasted John Dory with orach, turnips, kalian and umami butter), while sampling the Casual & Cured menu on the central and upper tiers gives you a taste of fresh South Coast oysters, Culatello or organic vegetable salad.
In line with the airy atmosphere, there's the option for Cured & Cultured diners to sit at the chef's counter and watch the kitchen craziness unfold during service or take in a meal in the more secluded seated tables section. Other highlights include a new bar and seating area for guests wanting to enjoy a quick tipple before their show and 'The Kitchen', a designated space for guests who want a backstage glimpse of the chefs working their culinary magic.
Those with a sweet tooth won't want to miss Peter Gilmore's speciality desserts, which have been created with distinctly Australian touches - such as a pavlova with Opera House sails and a modernised take on the classic lamington.
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The multi-million dollar refurbishment comes courtesy of architecture firm Tonkin Zulaikha Greer who have stayed true to the structure of the Opera House by sticking to a complementary palette of ochre and natural tones.
Bennelong is open seven nights a week for dinner and Friday, Saturday and Sunday for lunch. Find more info at sydneyoperahouse.com/Visit/bennelong.