Opera Kitchen is not your ordinary food court - it is an iconic food court. Tucked between two Australian Icons - the Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge, this kitchen is a stellar destination. It is the latest addition in the Opera House precinct, just underneath the Opera House concourse. It features bite-sized menus of popular restaurants such as Becasse, Charlie & Co, Cloudy Bay Fish Co, Misschu and Kenji Japanese in another section. Given the choice of 4 eateries - of course we would try each!
Located on the lower level of the Opera House, next to Opera Bar - It is an ideal place to spend a hot Summer's day with a crisp glass (or bottle..) of Australian Wine or down a beer (or two..) Many people avoid this area of the city because it is too touristy - ie. crowded and expensive. And when you are dining in Circular Quay on a budget - sometimes your only options are Mc Donalds or City Extra. Well, not anymore because you can enjoy the view without sacrificing your tastebuds.
From the Cloudy Bay Fish Co booth we ordered the Roasted Salmon on a salad ($17.50). You can have this King Salmon with lemon and herbs on a house baked roll also with salads, crisps and a pickle ($12.50) - Just like in their Westfield Pitt Street branch.
The fish grill is a fillet of the day's fish, grilled with olive oil, herbs and lemon ($24.50) It is also served with fries, tartare sauce and a side salad. This is the most expensive item in the menu - although it is not the cheapest meal, the quality and freshness of the fish and the larger serving sizes make it a fair price.
Now it was time to pay the next kiosk a visit - Charlie and Co. Burgers. I was a bit underwhelmed when visiting the Westfield Pitt St Branch also, but I don't write things off straight away. This condensed menu has four of the more popular Charlie and Co burgers (all $21.50) the Chilli Dog ($19) the plain fries, and the parmesan truffle fries ($10) The parmesan fries still did not 'wow' me but the taste still remained quite addictive, and before you knew it they were gone!
Now behold, the Federation Burger with a seasoned Angus beef patty, aged cheddar, a fried egg, bacon, onions and served with fries. They still serve it on the sweet brioche bun and at $21.50 - it is not the cheapest burger but the ingredients are top notch. At Opera Kitchen, the other three burgers they offer are the Wagyu and Co Burger, The Classic Fried Chicken Burger and the Hand-crafted Chilli Crab Burger.
Above: the long counter of Miss Chu, Charlie and co - the Cloudy Bay & Becasse Bakery
At Miss Chu - the Vietnamese Kitchen offers a great choice of easy to eat snacks. Im a big fan of their original hole in the wall eatery in Darlinghurst, so its great that you can get a second fix at this new location. There are steamed buns dumplings, rice paper rolls and vermecelli salads with prices ranging from $3 to $16.50. They also offer a Wagyu Beef Pho for $15 but it was far too hot for it!
We try the Prawn and Crabnet Deep fried spring roll ($11) which is one of my favorite snacks from Miss Chu. It is the crunchiest and tastiest spring roll, with the filling just melting into your mouth. Absolutely delicious and not very spicy at all - I could easily eat another serve!
Miss Chu's Traditional Peking Duck pancakes are another favourite. From memory they are $2.50 each at the Darlinghurst stall, but here its $12 for four pieces. These pankcakes do not use the usual hoisin sauce, they have a lighter and sweeter sauce which coat the tender cuts of duck - another dish I could double order.
Above: Becasse Bakery Savory Pastries
You can't go past the Becasse Bakery section without being tempted by any of their treats. The prices range from $5 - $12 and the hardest part is deciding which sweet or savory treat to order.
I had no room for dessert but the Vanilla bean and passionfruit cheesecake ($6) manifested at our table. Okay - i couldnt say no to this visually striking dessert. The passionfruit gave the cheesecake a wonderful tartiness - my only criticism would be that they need more of that delicious, buttery crust!
The other desserts we tried were the elegantly coloured pistachio and raspberry friand ($6) which was very moorish also their Pear Slice ($5) just made all of us want an ice cream! These sweet pastries were delicious and was the perfect end to a great meal overlooking Sydney harbour.
I think Opera Kitchen would be a great venue for a lazy weekend afternoon meal or even a quick snack if you are boozing away at Opera Bar. I often have family and friends visiting from overseas, and this would be the perfect spot to take them for a quick bite and sightseeing. What better location to soak in that relaxed, casual and uniquely Australian vibe? No amount of money can buy the view here - and you can actually tell visitors : "Oprah was here!"
The Empty Fridge Scorecard:
- The Peak: The amazing view, drinks from Opera Bar, indoor or ala cart dining just makes your heart burst with love for our beautiful city. Honesly - we are a lucky lot!
- The Pit: It can get very full at peak hours, and you could not use the "reserved" seats at the Kenji Japanese section - even though they were all empty.
- Empty Fridge Dish of the Day: The prawn and crabnet spring rolls from Miss Chu - if you just want one dish, this is a great pick!
Cloudy Bay Fish Co @ Opera Kitchen
Charlie and Co @ Opera Kitchen
Miss Chu @ Opera Kitchen
Becasse Bakery @ Opera Kitchen