Bennelong Restaurant - Opera House, Sydney
Bennelong is the ultimate special occasion dining destination. I took my mum here for a birthday lunch, overlooking the Sydney Harbour Bridge and stunning views of the harbour.
Lunch is a nice and relaxed affair; the restaurant itself is housed inside the Opera House, and is bright and spacious. Bennelong offers a more casual and relaxed affair, compared to it's sister restaurant across the water, Quay.
Clouds of Passion
The pretty Clouds of Passion arrives to the table with a touch of theatrics - covered in a glass dome and uncovered to reveal the most fragrant cloud of smoke. The cocktail is sweet and fruity, made with strawberry infused Ketel One vodka, passionfruit mandarin, vanilla and passionfruit cloud.
The complimentary bread is served warm and is heavenly slathered with lashings of the house butter. In hindsight, I wouldn't have filled up on bread as I was completely stuffed by the end of the meal (but it's hard not to when it's so good!).
The prawn raviolo is full of fresh flavours; with organic radishes, fermented chilli and prawn jus. The edible flowers add a touch of prettiness to the dish.
Slow cooked pig belly
The pig belly is served with sea scallops roasted in umami butter, crisp seaweed and Jerusalem artichoke.
Roasted John Dory
The roasted John Dory is an impressive sight, served on the bone and cooked to perfection. Served with orach, turnips, native coastal greens and umami butter; this was definitely my favourite savoury dish. The portion of fish is also super generous for a main dish.
Slow cooked Black Angus beef cheek
The slow cooked beef cheek is a hearty and substantial dish. The fall apart tender meat is served witha smoked chestnut purée and cipollini onion, which has a nice caramelised sweetness.
The main dishes come with default side dishes of salad and potatoes. The salad leaves are so fresh, and add some welcome greenery to the meal.
Cherry jam lamington
I was sold on the lamington by the waitress, who exclaimed that it was the best lamington that she's ever had. Bennelong's version has preserved cherries, coconut cream and cherry ice cream encased with chocolate ganache. I especially love the 'shaved coconut', light wisps of coconut which is actually liquid nitrogen frozen coconut parfait.
Even though we were so full at this point, we couldn't walk away without trying the desserts; the famed pavlova and the cherry jam lamington.
The signature pavlova is such a stunning dessert; with the crisp meringue shards mimicking the Opera House sails. The flavour of the pavlova is seasonal, and this particular version is a tropical passionfruit flavour, which is tart and tangy.
Overall, a lovely meal; the service was friendly and attentive and the venue is amazing. The size of the meals are very generous for fine dining standards. I would have probably skipped the entree had I known the size of the meals (good option for those with dining companions that don't enjoy fine dining due to small portions!)