Saturday, February 19, 2011

Review: Opera Kitchen

Lower Concourse Level

Sydney Opera House

Daily 6am - 2am

Buggles and Squeak usually like to pair a theatre visit with a spot of dinner prior. This has always been thwarted when one of these shows is on at the Opera House. Some of the dining spots under the Toaster are, quite simply, dreadful - and a dinner at Guillaume or Aria really does require a more leisurely pace. That is why we were quite keen to try out the Opera Kitchen on our latest theatre visit to see 'In the Next Room' at the Drama Theatre (top play, btw!)

The layout of the Opera Kitchen is simple - all of the food outlets (Charlie & Co, Becasse Bakery, Misschu, Kenjii Japanese and Cloudy Bay Fish Co) are located side by side and you just order what you like, grab a table number and it is brought to you. The tables and chairs have all been updated and provide a very cool, laid back, Sydney feel.... oh, and did I forget to mention that it all sits with perfect views of Sydney Harbour, the Opera House and the Bridge?

So we are feeling pretty positive about the experience ahead (and we have almost forgotten the extortion that Wilson Carpark puts Sydney-siders though!)

I am pretty keen to try some of the tasty sounding morsels from Misschu, but in the end we decide to both share a Wagyu & Co burger from Charlie & Co. with a side of Parmesan & Truffle fries. At $21 for the burger (despite the location) we did think the burger was going to be huge - hence the rather unusual decsion to share.

On arrival, our logic of big price = big burger is well and truly quashed. The burger does come served with a small side of fries, but the burger itself is pretty average in size. The kitchen generously cuts the burger in half for us so we tuck right in. So - what DOES a $21 burger taste like? It tastes much like a $12 burger. That is not to say that it isn't quite nice. The relish adds a nice acidity, and while the patty itself has a rather odd 'sausage mince' like texture, it is nice enough. If you eat this burger up at the newly opened Westfield, you will pay $3 less, but hey, $3 seems a reasonable premium for the location.

Thre Parmesan & Truffle fries are a winner though. The serve is quite generous and the smell lures us in right away. Crispy fries generously coated in that heady parmesan and truffle flavouring - yummo!

So, we are left a little peckish for something sweet and still have enough time to wile away on a beautiful Sydney midweek evening by the Harbour... so luckily Becasse Bakery is right on hand to satisfy.

We grab a couple of coffees and one Bolivian Chocolate Pot and a chocolate brownie. I LOVE chocolate brownies, and as a result of needing to sample them pretty much wherever they are offered, I feel I have become quite the brownie expert. This one? Not the best I've had. It is inoffensive, not overly sweet and washes down well with a much needed caffeine hit, but I've had much gooier and much more 'chocolatey' elsewhere.

The Bolivian Chocolate pot, however, is surprisingly light and incredibly delicious! I suspect it has a lot to do with childhood memories of chocolate yogo, but this chocolate pot is like a light chocolate custard topped with deliciously toffeed nuts. We probably would have been better served ordering one of these each! They aren't cheap ($8) , but I would definitely order it again.

So, the Opera Kitchen's food is overpriced - there are probably few who would deny that. But if you compare what you get with a variety of the other establishments close by, it certainly is a lot better in taste and quality. I guess they need to pay their rent too!

It isn't a spot to have a fancy dinner, but there are plenty of other places around for that, but for a quick bite before a show, or a bit of sustenance to accompany a few lazy drinks by the water, we think the Opera Kitchen is a very welcome addition to the Sydney Opera House strip.

Charlie & Co @ Opera Kitchen on Urbanspoon
Becasse Bakery @ Opera Kitchen on Urbanspoon

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