An opera on Sydney Harbour and a restaurant with a Harbour view
(Firstly apologies but this post is a little longer than my usual posts)
I love going to the opera; it really is one of my favourite things to do and I really enjoy going up to Sydney to the Sydney Opera House which means I regularly check to see what’s on. When I saw that Giacomo Puccini’s La Boheme was playing on the foreshore of Sydney Harbour I knew I had to go. He probably is my favourite composer!
I asked a few friends if they wanted to come away for the weekend and in the end friends Ray and Natalie drove up to Sydney whilst I flew and we met for lunch at Aria restaurant. The choice was Nat’s as they had been there before so I was looking forward to the experience.
But firstly I booked into the Soffitel Hotel and had the loveliest surprise…an upgrade to a larger room, a complimentary breakfast and late checkout – all because I was the chosen guest of the day – what a nice surprise. Oh and two little boxes of chocolates on the bed.And a nice view of the city from my window…We then walked to Aria. The entrance is not what I expected; it’s a little unassuming but once you are inside it’s a completely different story – the walls are full of original art, the atmosphere is fabulous and the views….wow!!The restaurant is located down near the Opera House with those magnificent views I just mentioned and as its web page says Aria is one of Australia’s finest restaurants. Our table was not right next to a window but we still had good views of the Bridge, Harbour and a docked cruise ship.We decided on three courses; entree, main and dessert and started off with a bottle of French champagne before selecting our dishes. Some of the vegetarian options contained non-animal rennet cheese and all desserts contained gelatine so the waiter kindly brought me a vegan menu.I was rather disappointed with my first course which although arrived beautifully presented, was cold. But…it was supposed to be cold but I didn’t know that and unless the dish is a salad I am not a fan of cold food…perhaps I should have checked before I ordered!!Ray ordered a seafood bowl which was very nicely presented and Nat had the blue-eye trevalla with almonds, capers and razorback prawns. That was presented so beautifully.Service was top quality; our waiter was so friendly and our Sommelier was extremely knowledgeable. We ordered a glass of wine each for our main course and a different wine for our desserts. My next course was a sweet potato, Jerusalem artichoke and nasturtium – this was lovely.Ray ordered a duck dish with treviso, sausage and sweet potato mash and Nat ordered another fish dish; the Murray cod with an angasi oyster, white radish, miso and celeriac…they loved all their dishes.Our sides which I think were complimentary, were a mashed royal blue potato (absolutely delicious) and a beautiful leaf salad with a delicious dressing which Nat kindly displayed with serving utensils for my photo.My dessert was pineapple, coconut and almond (forgot to photograph this) and we were also given complimentary cones with a raspberry sorbet which was a very nice way to finish our mains and wait for dessert.Nat and Ray ordered some nice desserts but I think Ray’s was the winner. Nat’s is the pie and Ray’s is the chocolate ball with a chestnut, cognac and cocoa crumble which once broken there flowed an amazing caramel like thick sauce. How good does this look!!Nat also chose a selection of Australian and international cheeses to share with Ray which came with quince paste, grapes, fruit and lavash bread…And then more complimentary dishes; some dark chocolate and small treats. I could only eat the nougat on the small treat platter as the lemon sweets contained gelatine. But lucky I had very willing friends who managed to eat them. It was a lovely few hours and I am glad I have been; it’s not a cheap restaurant but the service, food and views were all part of the wonderful experience.After our long lunch we went back to our respective hotels and I met Nat a little later to walk to the Harbour. I did pop into Ray and Nat’s room at the Intercontinental Hotel to see fabulous views of the harbour.
On our way to the opera we were lucky enough to see a rainbow and even more fortunate that it didn’t rain during the evening as the opera was outside.We had good seats and both Nat and I loved the opera (Ray is not an opera fan so he didn’t come). The usual merchandise could be purchased of course…And wonderful sunset views over the Opera House and Harbour Bridge…When I bought our opera tickets on-line I also bought two drink tickets for intermission as there was a pop up bar which was beautifully decked out with tables, stools and lovely fresh flowers. It was a nice way to spend thirty-minutes so Nat and I enjoyed a white wine each.A great opera after which we walked back to our hotels for a comfortable sleep. And the next morning, I went to the restaurant for my complimentary breakfast from the huge buffet [I don’t usually have this much tomato sauce; it poured out way too quickly].
I love going away for short breaks and this was such a lovely weekend away.