Bennelong is one of the most sophisticated dining experiences in Sydney. Located inside the iconic and internationally recognised Sydney Opera House, the space provides stunning views of Sydney’s beautiful harbour and the Harbour Bridge.
Bennelong is located on a site of historical significance, for Australia’s first people, the Indigenous Australians, more specifically the Gadigal people of the Eora nation, occupied this area. Bennelong, an Aboriginal man to befriend the British, lived in a house on the point that this restaurant stands today.
A location steeped in history, they are honouring this in their respect of Indigenous art, and use of Australian produce and proteins.
When you arrive at the restaurant, spend a while to admire and take in the incredible architecture. High roofs, expansive dining space and floor to ceiling glass windows make you simply feel ‘wowed’.
You’re met by the fabulous maître d, who on every occasion we’ve visited, is welcoming and friendly with a certain touch of pizzazz. He, and the other staff greet our mother/mother in law with “happy birthday” and instantly she feels special.
We are taken to our table, a spot to take in the landscape while we dine.
We recommend beginning with a cocktail, for they have an excellent combination of flavours and theatrics to add a touch of fun. The “Clouds Of Passion” is a drink made with
Strawberry & coconut infused Ketel One vodka, passionfruit, mandarin oil and vanilla. It is served with a great reveal, the lid opening with a scented cloud with the dry ice.
Furthermore, the Whisky lovers out there will like the “Seven seas of Rye”, made with Ron Zacapa 23, Bulleit rye whiskey, shiraz blend, honey, bitters 2 types.
If you’re on the soft stuff, the mocktails also come recommended. We loved the “Badu Gili – Water Light”, picture perfect presentation with the pink coloured crushed ice, lavender, strawberry gum, lemon, Peychaud’s bitters and presented with slices of green apple.
The wine list is extremely plentiful, order by the glass or bottle. If you need some help, the sommelier will be happy to provide advice for a drink that will perfectly matched your food.
Already having a great time, we peruse the menu and there’s so many appealing dishes. From the entree options we chose the Shiitake noodles, beautifully flavoured with koji, sesame, black garlic and slow cooked pig belly. The taste had a umami feel to it and the pig and noodles were cooked perfectly.
Furthermore the entree of hand shelled mud crab with white polenta had the most amazing palm heart which we constantly talked about. Combined with corn & brown butter, this dish is a winner.
In selecting from the mains, there’s a good range of proteins and a vegetarian option. The Eden dory is picture perfect, a small piece of fish, with crispy skin, presented with a garden of greens & blossoms, sudachi, kombu, and parsley. It is stunning in both presentation and taste.
The most perfectly cooked piece of Wagyu beef fillet was presented with caramelised cipollini onion, wasabi emulsion and topped with a picturesque green leaf.
Whilst the optional main supplement costs an extra $65, we can vouch that it was totally worth it. The Tasmanian rock lobster was incredible. The soft lobster, served in its half tail with a lobster gnocchi, coral butter and baby leeks is presented impeccably and the flavour is refined and incredibly tasty.
Dessert wise, their stalwart dishes of the cherry lamington and Pavlova that resembles the opera house remains on the menu with the addition of some new choices.
We thoroughly enjoyed their version of the nostalgic chocolate crackle, a dome shaped mousse covered with organic rice crispies; individually coated in different chocolate such as dark amedei chouao, dolce, caramello and Valrhona white chocolate, with the addition of puffed caramelised rye and broom corn. So clever and an intricately made mix of flavours.
We also found that the “pine lime” was an amazing dessert. Whilst it’s presentation was reminiscent of the 1980’s in a martini glass, you can ignore that once that first spoon of sugary goodness hits the taste buds. Layers of cream, sponge, granita and ice cream make for the most refreshing dessert.
Before service ends, staff being out a birthday cupcake with a candle for the birthday girl, making her feel very special.
We were lucky to be there for “Live at Bennelong”, which allows you to enjoy your lunch with live music on a Sunday afternoon. The restaurant comes alive with jazz music, which we enjoyed listening to the Phillip Johnston Trio, with Phillip Johnston on the Alto Saxophone, Lloyd Swanton on the double bass, Tim Rollinson on the guitar and social guest Paul Cutlan on the clarinet. The music provided a good ambience for the lunch.
Overall, this is a classy dining experience that really cannot be faulted. Whilst a 3 course meal here can set you back $170, and extra $30 cover charge when the jazz band is on, it’s absolutely worth it for that special event coming up.
Sydney Opera House
Sydney NSW 2000