Sunday, July 24, 2011

Guillaume at Bennelong - dining inside Sydney Opera House

I received from Mr & Miss J one of the best birthday presents a foodie could dream of - a gift certificate to dine at Guillaume at Bennelong! This restaurant has received so many high-profile awards as a result of a fabulous pairing of a brilliant chef (a Joël Robuchon protégé) with one of the world’s most famous locations (Sydney Opera House). The day has come and it was my fifth year anniversary with Mr M. Such a milestone was a perfect reason to call for celebration at the two hat restaurant. 

Yes - we're dining inside the Opera House!!
While it was dark inside the restaurant, thankfully there were theatrical spotlights placed strategically over each table. It was a very interesting experience dining at Bennelong, where the tinted glass allowed both people inside and outside the restaurant to look at each other, sort of like a fishbowl. In a way we felt like celebrities there, especially when the theater performances ended and the crowd paraded past gazing at us (ohhh don't worry, it was fun looking at you too :P).

View from our table

The menu
Tonight we ordered from the a la carte dinner menu. When given a choice between degustation and a la carte, I normally opt for a la carte, just because I get to choose what I will be having (a big plus for picky eaters). After we have ordered entrees and mains, we were presented with the most adorable cornets as our amuse bouche. Mr M loved these tiny crisp cornets (he had my share because I don't eat fish) and they definitely raised our expectations for the rest of our meal. 

Amuse Bouche
Cornet of Yellow Fin Tuna with Wasabi Mayonnaise
Oysters with cucumber jelly and yuzu cream
I was a little puzzled when they presented an entree dish before serving us any bread. Mr M pointed out this was a cold entree and so could be served before bread. Mr M gave his nod to these oysters saying they were extremely fresh - I believed so because I could smell the sea from this dish. After the oyster entree, we were served a warm sourdough bread, which had a crisp crust.
Warm Sourdough bread with butter

L Loves... Western Australian Marron on a bed of sealed foie gras,
duck confit and mushrooms with fresh horseradish
 and a smoked duck consommé
At $60 an entree, I was expecting something spectacular and we received nothing less. I was struck by the wonderful aroma from the smoke duck consomme, the beautiful marron, the tasty duck confit and mushrooms. But what really won me over was the rich, succulent and perfectly sealed foie gras. Such an amazing combination of textures and flavours - this dish was worth every cent!

L Loves... Scallops gently sealed and served with cauliflower puree,
Shiitake mushrooms, spinach and chicken jus
The scallops had a wonderful crisp on the outside and was absolutely tender and soft all the way through. The smooth and creamy cauliflower puree was divine and the shiitake mushrooms and spinach were so flavoursome. 

We've hit such a high on the entrees, we hoped the wonders would flow on for the rest of the night. We chatted, took photos, and entertained the by-passers outside the fishbowl restaurant as we waited for our mains. Approximately an hour after we had finished our entrees, our mains finally arrived. 

Roasted Barossa Valley Chicken and Yabbies
with deglazed celeriac and celeriac puree, fresh Manjimup truffle and jus gras
I was impressed by the generous amount of the pungent black truffle slices on top of the chicken. The yabbies and celeriac puree were delicious. However what was suppose to be the hero of the dish, the roasted chicken breast, was a little dry and bland.  

Poached Rangers Valley Beef Tenderloin served with pickled vegetables,
Shiitake mushrooms and bone marrow in a beef consommé
with an English mustard emulsion
This was a gorgeous piece of beef tenderloin cooked sous-vide and it was perfectly tender. However I didn't find the condiments to be complementing this dish as well as I had hoped for. Unfortunately, the combination of the sour pickled vegetables and the English mustard emulsion didn't work for me. 

Paris mash, served on our plate

The waiter served our side of Paris mash on our plate. It was extremely heart warming/clogging and was by far the most buttery potato mash I've ever tasted. After we polished off our mains (both with parts I liked and disliked), we asked for the desserts menu. Again we found the service to be a bit slow, but the view and atmosphere surrounding us made the wait more than endurable. What made it even more forgivable was the pre-dessert we were presented with - vanilla pannacotta (made with real vanilla bean pods) with strawberries and strawberry sorbet. It was so silky and heavenly and it was like the pastry chef foretold that I was coming and made this especially for me :D
L Loves... Vanilla Pannacotta with fresh strawberries and strawberry sorbet
Passionfruit Souffle served with banana and passionfruit sorbet and crème chantilly
The wonderful pre-dessert gave us confidence over our desserts to come - and 
they did not disappoint us at all. Mr M loved his warm fluffy souffle, and I 
loved my mille feuille, which had a great balance of fresh raspberries, slightly
sour raspberry sorbet, sweet meringue, creamy custard and the crisp, crunchy 
pastry with a shiny glaze. Yummm!

L Loves... Raspberry Mille Feuille with white chocolate, 
elderflower and raspberry sorbet

With our coffee and tea order came a cute selection of petit fours, including salted caramel macarons, passionfruit jellies, raspberry tartlets and dark chocolate truffles. My favourites were the dark chocolate truffles and salted caramel macarons. What a fantastic finish to the evening!

Our bill tonight

L's Verdict:
  • Taste: 9/10 
  •  Ambience: 5/5
  •  Value: 3/5 (definitely paying a premium for the prime location)
  •  Service: 3/5 (professional, but very slow)
  • Creativity and other WOW factors: 4/5  

Overall rating: 24/30

Guillaume at Bennelong
Sydney Opera House
Bennelong Point
Sydney NSW 2000
Ph: (02) 9241 1999
Dinner: Tues - Sat 5:30pm till late
Lunch: Thur - Fri 12 noon till 3pm

Visited July 2011

Friendly advice: When you are making your reservation, you can make a request as to where you want your table to face (for example Sydney Harbour, the Bridge, Royal Botanic Gardens, Circular Quay or the city). And if you would like to taste the greatness without blowing your budget, the restaurant also offers a superb two or three course pre-theatre menu.

Guillaume at Bennelong on Urbanspoon


  1. wowowoow! im gona save up to go to this in Sydney! you have some nice friends haha. btw really like your writing style :)

  2. Thx CC! Mr J is my bf’s brother, and they are wonderful people :)
    You should definitely come over some time and I’ll volunteer to be your foodie guide :P