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An opera on Sydney Harbour and a restaurant with a Harbour view

fullsizeoutput_205(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.fullsizeoutput_201And a nice view of the city from my window…fullsizeoutput_202We 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!!fullsizeoutput_1fcImage 21The 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. fullsizeoutput_211Our table was not right next to a window but we still had good views of the Bridge, Harbour and a docked cruise ship.fullsizeoutput_20dfullsizeoutput_20cfullsizeoutput_20bWe 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.fullsizeoutput_1edI 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!!fullsizeoutput_1eeRay 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.fullsizeoutput_1f0fullsizeoutput_1f1Service 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.fullsizeoutput_1f2Ray 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.fullsizeoutput_1f3fullsizeoutput_1f4Our 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.fullsizeoutput_1f5My 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.fullsizeoutput_1f6Nat 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!!fullsizeoutput_1f7fullsizeoutput_1f9fullsizeoutput_1faNat also chose a selection of Australian and international cheeses to share with Ray which came with quince paste, grapes, fruit and lavash bread…fullsizeoutput_1f8And 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.fullsizeoutput_1ecfullsizeoutput_1fbAfter 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.fullsizeoutput_208

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.fullsizeoutput_203We had good seats and both Nat and I loved the opera (Ray is not an opera fan so he didn’t come).  fullsizeoutput_1fefullsizeoutput_1ffThe usual merchandise could be purchased of course…fullsizeoutput_204And wonderful sunset views over the Opera House and Harbour Bridge…fullsizeoutput_20eWhen 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.Image 39A 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].
fullsizeoutput_206I love going away for short breaks and this was such a lovely weekend away.