TOP 100 QUEST: BENNELONG, Sydney
I was on a late flight back from Sydney to Adelaide and to my delight, Bennelong (located at the Sydney Opera House) does early Pre-Theatre Dining at 5:30pm meaning I could squeeze in a quickie before heading to the airport. I’d had some excellent nights at Guillaume at Bennelong so I was looking forward to experiencing the new Bennelong with Peter Gilmore’s food. It had only just won New Restaurant of the Year (slightly controversially as it hadn’t even been listed as a finalist) and I’d been sitting next to Peter only the night before at the Gourmet Traveller restaurant awards (sorry – I just HAD to get that fact in, heh heh!).
The food concept at Bennelong is to deliver a simplified version of Peter’s food at Quay, focusing on quality ingredients. For lunch you can opt for 2 or 3 courses ($100 or $130), and for dinner you are offered a 3 course menu for $130. Our 2 course pre-theatre dinner cost us $80 each. There’s also the Cured and Cultured menu which is a little more casual and you can either sit up at the counter or in the casual dining area.
When my dining partner and I arrived, people were already queuing at the doors. I had to scoot no later than 7pm so I wanted to get started as soon as possible! Thankfully, the pre-theatre menu consists of only 3 entrees, 3 mains and 2 sides, so the decision wasn’t difficult. We decided on 2 entrees and 2 mains to share (the non-vegetarian options). A Wagyu tartare and some seared scallops to start followed by snapper and veal. As you can see by the photos, it was beautiful food. The stand-out dish for me was the Northern Rivers grass fed veal, parsnips, cavolo nero, mushrooms and hazelnuts. It was one of those dishes that I can’t stop thinking about – melt-in-your-mouth tender veal and those earthy, slippery mushrooms. Perfection.
We loved our meal. I will definitely go again when I’m not so rushed and can relax and enjoy the full Bennelong experience, and of course, that amazing view!