Bennelong Restaurant Review
Sydney Opera House
By Fergal Gleeson
People who take photos of their food should have their phones smashed immediately with mallets and be thrown in a dungeon without Wi Fi until rehabilitated. Facebook is awash with images of muffins and flat whites and ghastly pictures of ethnic food. Who wants to look at this? That is why when I wanted to demonstrate the beauty of the presentation of the Pavlova dessert at Bennelong Restaurant I left it to the professionals and borrowed a stock image. While the food is exceptional at Bennelong, the shape of the Pavlova will tell you that this restaurant is all about the location.
You never forget you are dining inside one of the best known buildings in the world. The room with it’s vaulted concrete ceilings might have been inspired by a giant clam shell, the rib cage of a whale, the pipes of a cathedral’s organ or the exposed concrete of my old university. Whatever Utzon was thinking- it’s impressive. Outside Sydney lights twinkle like Christmas and boats chug about the Quay just because they can. The surroundings could create the atmosphere but Bennelong avoids feeling like a tourist trap.
At 180 wines the wine list is comprehensive and fairly priced. While waiting for our table to be prepared I order a bottle of Pinot Noir from Clarence House in the Coal River Valley, Tasmania at $73. It’s excellent and the good times continue as we land a nice window seat looking back at the Botanic Gardens.
While my partner was powdering her nose, there was a hilarious moment when the couple at the next table started feeding each other. It all went awry as the girl was loving pushing a thick slab of sourdough into her boyfriend’s gob. The sourdough was particularly tough and unyielding. There he was mid restaurant, his teeth locked on a piece of crusty bread with the qualities of titanium. She was willing him on with increasing desperation to rip the thing. Tears of pain were pouring from his eyes but he’d have needed the jaws of a lion not molars from Mosman to get the better of this tussle. I don’t think anything would have happened later for those two.
I’d heard that the chef Peter Gilmore was a devil with piggies and go all out with a Pork Belly and Scallop starter and Macleay Valley Suckling Pig as a Main. The aforementioned Pavlova is a beauty. My partner orders the Pumpkin starter and Risotto which I try. I use my own fork having witnessed the earlier pratfall. We finish with a glass of Rockford Tawny Port from the Barossa.
This restaurant isn’t exactly aimed at the man on the street unless of course that man has a Swiss watch, a share portfolio and some German metal in his drive way. At $130 for a 3 Course dinner/$100 for 2 Courses it’s manageable. One of the very best options to choose if you are showing off Sydney to visitors. Just don’t go all lovey dovey with the sourdough!
Bennelong Restaurant: 5/5. Bill for 2: c$325 ex tip. For more Wine Reviews read and follow www.greatwineblog.wordpress.com Eat, Drink and be merry!