Saturday, August 12, 2006

Guillaume at Bennelong, Opera House, Bennelong Point

Guillaume at Bennelong, Opera House, Bennelong Point
Saturday 12 August, 2006

Tonight we were off to see Anthony Warlow and David Hobson (of recent, 'It Takes Two' fame) in Pirates of Penzance (one of my favourite Gilbert & Sullivan works). As a child I was exposed to every Gilbert & Sullivan known to man and whilst I remember resenting being dragged off to see these musicals with my brother, sister, Mum and Dad, it's only later in life that I have developed an appreciation for their work.

We made dinner reservations at Guillaume at Bennelong to sample their pre-theatre menu. Two courses for $60 and three courses for $72. It's a spectacular location and the restaurant is located in the front two shells of the Sydney Opera House.

We arrived for dinner and were welcomed inside. It's an impressive entrance up the warm chocolate coloured staircase to see the half dozen large didgeridoos standing upright in a bed of sand. The seating is located in the space looking back towards Circular Quay and there is a bar and lounge area that commands the view of the Harbour Bridge.

The pre-theatre menu offers 7 or so choices for entree, main and dessert. After ordering some pre-dinner drinks and taking in the surroundings I ordered the Basil infused tuna with mustard seed and soy vinaigrette for entree and my dinner buddies ordered Freshly shucked Pacific oysters with shallot vinegar (8) and the Sealed QLD scallops on a confit of leek with Avruga caviar. The Basil infused tuna was absolutely divine, the tuna was almost rare and wrapped around the edges in basil - it was the perfect light entree.

Our sommelier, Stuart Halliday (formally Est), was excellent. He was knowledgable, attentive and happy to discuss the Guillaume at Bennelong winelist. He even shared with us that most of their stock is kept in Millers Storage as they don't have the facilities onsite.

For main I decided to try the Braised veal shanks on Paris mash with lentils and winter vegetables whilst my dinner buddies opted for the Grainfed beef tenderloin with tombé of field mushrooms, spinach and confit of shallot with merlot sauce and In-house smoked salmon roulade with baby mache and toasted brioche. Thee veal shanks were so tender and it was served off the bone on a bed of lentils and creamy mash.

I was impressed with the servings - they weren't massive (maybe this was intentional as it was the pre-theatre menu and they know people are on a strict time limit).

Only two of us decided to splurge on dessert and this was a mistake. Neither of our selections were anything special - I ordered the Pear & honey creme brulee with lemon shortbread and my dinner buddy ordered the Fine apple tart with cinnamon ice cream. Dissapointing all around. The brulee was soggy beneath the crispy top layer and the apple tart was almost burnt on the bottom, making it near impossible to cut through. That'll teach us - we didn't really need dessert anyway....

Despite this ending, Guillaume at Bennelong is very good. I'm not sure about their 3 hat status though......

Guillaume at Bennelong - Opera House, Bennelong Point - (02) 9241 1999


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