Fine dining in Sydney | Bennelong Restaurant

Bennelong restaurant interior inside the Sydney Opera House
Bennelong restaurant interior inside the Sydney Opera House

Showcasing the most beautiful view of the Sydney city skyline across Circular Quay, Bennelong is an impressive restaurant.

A visit to the Opera House always feels special, whether you are attending the ballet, symphony, music / comedy / drama performance, or simply going for a photo wander, the Opera House has the most grandeur feeling about it. It’s beautiful, artistic and a quintessential Australian landmark.

Bennelong is the perfect establishment to showcase fine dining in such a fine location.

From the moment you enter the glass door with that oyster shaped logo, you know your in for a special dining experience.

Bennelong entrance
Bennelong entrance

The Maître d’ is friendly and efficient. Our coats are taken and we are seated smoothly and quickly. We have the most amazing seats; right on the peninsula of the glass sail, looking back over the city skyline and Circular Quay.

Everything about Bennelong is smooth, calm, efficient, friendly but unobtrusive. Our waiters are knowledgeable regarding the wine list and menu, without having to ‘get someone else’ or ‘check with the kitchen’; a small touch that I love about fine dining that adds to the customer experience.

View from our dining table
View from our dining table

Surprisingly there are a good choice of wines for under $100 a bottle. We started an aperitif of a glass of Charles Heidsieck, then moved on to a bottle of French Bernard Fouquet from the ‘Future Champions’ list, which is a chenin blanc (similar to pinot gris?) with ripe melon and floral notes; light and perfect with our seafood meal choices.

My handsome husband
My handsome husband

The menu is succinct and all looks so tasty that its a tough choice! The food is light, Modern Australian; not pretentious, just beautiful plates with quality ingredients and imaginative pairings that work so well.

Dinner
Dinner

Everything we ate was deliciously amazing; Prawn raviolo & Tasmanian squid for entrees, Wild caught fish & Suckling pig for mains, and Crème caramel & mille-feuille and cheese plate for dessert. My only regret is the cheese, as it was a bit dry from lack of accompaniments (could do with quince or pear paste or a bunch of grapes).

Prawn raviolo organic radishes, fermented chili & prawn jus
Prawn raviolo
organic radishes, fermented chili & prawn jus
Today’s wild caught fish roasted palm heart, parnsip, bone broth
Today’s wild caught fish
roasted palm heart, parnsip, bone broth

It was my husband’s birthday and before they served dessert, they served a birthday cupcake with a single candle; soft, buttery vanilla cake with butter icing. Such a lovely touch.

Birthday Boy!
Birthday Boy!

Seriously, this restaurant is wonderful and you really can’t go past it for an amazing dining experience, especially if you’re dining for a special occasion.

table candle and card
table candle and card
The Williams post-dinner
The Williams post-dinner

Bennelong | Sydney Opera House, Sydney NSW Australia

Advertisements

alfie & hetty | glebe eatery

2013-05-27_1523-e1369634782338

On the 3rd October, The Jacksons & The Williams went out for Dinner Club.
For my choice, we dined at Alfie & Hetty on Glebe Point Rd in Glebe.

In the 1920’s Alfie and Hetty were great mates who lived side by side on the site that is now the restaurant. Alfie was a gangster and party boy and Hetty a caring & upstanding lady of the community. According to the website:

Mrs. N Stapleton or better known as Hetty, was an institution to her neighbours’ and the community for being a caring and gregarious women. She would cook for the locals and their children, especially well known for her famous roast on a Sunday.
Hetty lived in 207 Glebe Point Road till her death in 1925 while still awaiting the return of her son, who was lost in the war.  In Honour of this lovely women we have not only named our restaurant Hettys’ Place, but also offer the famous roasts she was so well known for.
Alfie White, who lived in 209 from 1921, was known to be the right hand man of the local Gangster. Alfie was the collector of money owed, and was also in charge of the Speakeasy, which he ran out of the upstairs of this house.
So in Honour of Mr. White we have named our upstairs area Alfie’s Bar, a place where the elegance and notoriety of the 1920’s is mixed up with Hetty’s favourite dishes, and Alfie’s favourite cocktails.

I love the integration of history into Sydney’s restaurants and bars of late, and how, through dining and drinking we are led to embrace the stories and feel apart of eras past that have laid the foundation to our beautiful city.

restaurant frontage
restaurant frontage

The food is about sharing and having good times, so keeping with that ethos, Jay & shared a steak and we had chips for the table.

steak for two
steak for two
spiced fries
spiced fries

The food is well priced but I’d give the cocktails a miss. We finished off a wonderful evening of catching up with our good friends with dessert down the street at SanChurro.

strawberries & white chocolate
strawberries & white chocolate dipping sauce

gowings bar & grill

Gowings Bar & Grill is located in the QT Hotel on Market St in the city.

It is my new Sydney favourite restaurant! I went there for a work celebration lunch about 2 months ago and then again last month for my 35th birthday with Jay.

Here are some pics of this deliciously magical place!

QT hotel reception lounge
QT hotel reception lounge
paying homage to Gowings
paying homage to Gowings
the entrance to Gowings Bar & Restaurant
the entrance to Gowings Bar & Restaurant

The Gowings building was established in 1868 and has sat dormant for many years after the family owned department chain went out of business in 2001.

QT boutique hotel chain opened on the premises in 2012 and within it’s first year of operation Gowings Bar & Restaurant received a Chef’s Hat!

getting our Veuve on
getting our Veuve on
yellowfin tuna tartar
yellowfin tuna tartar
grilled barramundi
grilled barramundi
various shots of deliciousness
various shots of deliciousness
Jay & Melly mucking around
Jay & Melly mucking around

To visit, check out the details [here].

the owl house

Want the two best words of the week?

Date Night!

The Owl House in Darlinghurst is where we went for our date earlier this week.

owlhouseowlhouse_fun

Located just off Williams St, this little red terrace is cute & cosy; hosting a well stocked candlelit bar downstairs and a small dining room upstairs.

We had a special experience created by Lime & Tonic which was for a set 5 small-course meal which we kicked off at the bar;

starting off at the bar
starting off at the bar
tea lights in the little wall cracks
tea lights in the little wall cracks
I'd have to say I agree!
I’d have to say I agree!

We were then taken upstairs by the waitress Anna for our dinner

upstairs dining
upstairs dining
upstairs dining
upstairs dining

The terraces in Darlinghurst have a lot of history; the suburb was established in the 1830s and in recent years business owners are embracing the history of the area and the people who lived there through interior design that keeps in theme with the rich history of early Sydney.

My photos are a little dark, as I didn’t want to disrupt the ambiance (or embarrass Jay) with my phone’s gigantic flash! But you get the idea; Commonwealth influences, red walls, candles, recycled timber, etc.

course 1 | oyster with pepper citrus foam
course 1 | oyster with pepper citrus foam
course 2 | oxtail croquette on a bed of herbed mayo & watercress
course 2 | oxtail croquette on a bed of herbed mayo & watercress
course 3 | beetroot mousse with creme fraiche & snowpea tendrils
course 3 | beetroot mousse with creme fraiche celeriac coleslaw & snowpea tendrils
course 4 | veal medallion, brisket with walnut cracker topping on parsnip mash
course 4 | veal medallion, brisket with walnut cracker topping on parsnip mash with roasted yellow beetroot & shredded silverbeet
course 5 | chocolate mousse topped with honeycomb with a little chocolate & almond brownie
course 5 | chocolate mousse topped with honeycomb with a little chocolate & almond brownie

The food was an exciting surprise (we didn’t know what the menu held for us) and the dining room is intimate and candlelit, making for a romantic night out!

If you can, I recommend you head over there for an after work beverage or dinner with a girlfriend/mate/date!

‘Best Bar with Food’ winner: 2012 SMH Good Food Guide. The Owl House Darlinghurst is for superb food, or spoiling yourself with a cocktail for grown-ups.

Check out their website for details

sunday at the grounds

You wouldn’t know it’s autumn with the summer weather Sydney’s been having! Today was the perfect Sunday morning to wander The Grounds.

The Grounds cafe (without the 5000 people that are usually in attendance!)
The Grounds cafe (without the 5000 people that are usually in attendance!)

[pic via]

In the mostly-industrial suburb of Alexandria, The Grounds is an awesome purpose built functional cafe-slash-garden. There are chickens, randomly placed raised garden beds of herbs and other edible plants and more waitstaff than you could possibly imagine. They roast their own coffee, bake their own bread & make their own pastries. The smell of freshly sugared jam & caramel filled donuts are almost too much to bare!
Plus there’s Kevin Bacon’s House which is where the little pig Kevin lives!

It opens at 8am and the queue starts immediately. When we arrive at 10am it’s a 40 minute wait for table service, so we get take-away coffee, fruit salad and bacon & eggs brioche instead. We wander the grounds and this is what we saw:IMG_20130324_113949 kitchen garden
lemonade & fruit stand
bacon & egg brioche cart

IMG_20130324_114128 gardens, chicken coop & Kevin Bacon this cutest little pig sleeping in the sun
(Harley even pokes his head through the fence to say hello to Kevin Bacon but since he doesn’t smell like bacon he doesn’t know what to do!)

IMG_20130324_113131 really really really good coffee

IMG_20130324_124330fruit salad, yoghurt & toasted muesli

IMG_20130324_113542 Harley being cute and fluffy

20130324124541876 the basil plants are insane!!!
and check out that little wooden kid’s play house!

IMG_20130324_113313 the fresh flower cart

The food is OK but it’s the space that is amazing.
You could drop a geodesic dome over The Grounds and quite happily survive the Zombie Apocalypse or a nuclear war here. Go for coolness but stay for the coffee….seven bean house roasted blend which is seriously good.

The Grounds | 7A, 2 Huntley St, Alexandria
boo for no bookings

dinner club 2013 february | mexico surry hills

mexico food + liquor | Surry Hills

It was Jay’s choice for February dinner club. We went to Sydney’s latest Mexican buzz establishment Mexico Food + Liquor in Surry Hills (affectionately aka Slurry).

hola pic above borrowed from their website

mexico_inside

Goodness it’s hot & muggy when we arrive after work on Tuesday evening. E & Neen are already seated at the bar (they won’t seat you until all your party has arrived, and there are no bookings!) and have the right idea… a jug of margarita!

neensjugs stolen from Neen’s Instagram @neenjackson

Although it’s quiet when we arrive it soon fills and is buzzing with after work catch-ups. The food is tasty and super quick. The menu reads like standard Tex-Mex but it’s finger food fun with creative twists that make it awesome and along with the atmosphere and funky staff give this place it’s new-kid-on-the-block buzz. All the menu items are small plates, so you order a few and graze.

20130226220559155clockwise from top left:

totes cool day of the dead entrance
menu
wall of tequila & cerveza
long-bench tables

20130226220743681we each have a small soft taco (E & Neen have pulled pork, Jay has beef & I have fish) we share the quesadillas.

clockwise above from top left:

*Pibil rubbed pork w black beans, red cabbage, guajillo, sesame soft taco
*Beef brisket braised in coconut & ancho w green onion, chilli, papaya soft taco
*Blackboard special: chorizo & whitefish with green cabbage soft taco
*Achiote chicken, citrus cured red onion, mint w salsa borracha quesadillas

20130226220902407we share….

clockwise above from top left:

*Mexico’s fried chicken (ohmygodohmygodohmygod)
*Beetroot, blood orange, chilli peanut salad w queso fresco, tostada
*Quinoa, wild rice, green bean, grilled zucchini salad w mustard greens
*Crispy potatoes tossed in celery lime salt w spicy tomatillo dressing

ohmygodohmygodohmygod. The fried chicken is to die for!!! The salads are amazing; fresh, different & tasty!

mexicofrida
wall of Frida

I love this place. I want to go back every night until I can’t eat Mexican anymore! If you’re local, don’t walk, RUN here!

Mexico Food + Liquor | 17 Randle St, Surry Hills
mexicofoodandliquor.com.au

 ♥