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

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well co & a french film | date night

Date night last week with hubby landed us in the Italian suburb of Leichhardt which has been taken over in March by the French for the Alliance Française Sydney French Film Festival.

We ate at Well Co which is a cute little cafe/wine bar on Norton Street (we frequent the one on Glebe Point Rd)

Well Co interior

via

The cafe has cute rustic decor with a mix of little wooden and metal stools, a blackboard that covers the entire wall, low hanging light bulbs above the tables inside that cast a wonderful soft glow and little mismatching candlelit table settings outside. 

evening cafe entertainment

On the weekend they have live entertainment; it’s a husband and wife team that do folk-y type music (think The Beatles, Crosby Stills Nash & Young, Carly Simon & James Taylor – yay!) and some French-inspired tunes in honour of the festival. Between the two of them they play 5 instruments (keyboard, guitar, ukulele, trombone & harmonica).

the menu

The menu is simple and well priced. I’d call it modern Italian with some great wholefood vegetarian options. The wine list has lesser-known Aussie wines and few Italian varietals. The service is friendly and quick.

Scotch fillet steak with mashed potato, tomato chutney served with Japanese Yuki sauce

Jay orders the steak and he finds it cooked to his liking (medium rare), the mash is creamy, buttery and whipped to perfection and the Yuki chutney is adds a different flavour than the usual red wine jus…

Prosciutto linguine with garlic roma tomato, rocket & chilli

I am a sucker for a good linguine, and this one fills the spot perfectly; ripe tomato, spicy chilli and green, peppery rocket with just a sprinkling of crispy prosciutto.

garden salad

We share a garden salad. I would have preferred for the dressing to come on the side instead of being smothered all over it, but its OK.

Jay & Mel

Overview:
Atmosphere: cute & quirky; good for a girlie catchup or a romantic dinner.
Food: cafe style modern Italian; small and large size meals.
Service: Great! Quick and friendly.
Value for money: Good.

Well Co Cafe and Wine Bar | 39-45 Norton St, Leichhardt, NSW 2040

♥♥♥♥♥

After dinner we walk up the cafe lined street to the Palace cinema. I love this cinema; it’s old elegant art house style (no room for blockbusters here!), small capacity and beer/wine you can take in by the glass (no ‘plastic only’ rule!). The candy bar is even Italian style; gelato instead of icecream and popcorn cooked in olive oil that makes a beautiful difference taste-wise.

I love French films. We’ve been to the Leichhardt French film festival for the past 3 years. I also adore the acting of Audrey Tautou who is the star of La Delicatesse (aka Delicacy). The story is in the vein of other romantic French movies; quirky, heartwarming, drama/comedy (“dramedy”) with a whimsical tone (eg Amelie-like voiceovers) that life is full of surprises. The story tells of Nathalie (Tautou) who is uncertain of life & happiness after a tragic accident leaves her a widower. Her world is turned upside once she starts a friendship with a very odd Swedish co-worker (played by Belgian actor François Damiens).

I recommend you check it out if you get a chance! 

(Note: contrary to the voiceover on the trailer below, La Delicatesse actually refers to ‘sensitivity’ rather than the English meaning of ‘delicacy’.)