Guillaume at Bennelong
Sydney Opera House
Sunday night’s episode of MasterChef was exciting for me and Mum. We’ve just returned from a girl’s weekend in Sydney where we spent out first night at the amazing Guillaume at Bennelong, and it gave us a buzz to see all the amazing dishes we ate again – as well as seeing the very wait staff who served us. Last week we chose to have a sort of mini degustation – a choice of dishes from a four course menu for $140 per person.
The restaurant has a good cocktail list with an emphasis on martinis. We decided to start the night off with a few excellent Japanese slippers…
… and a choice of two complimentary breads: slices of fresh sourdough, or this brioche with caramelised onions – a beautiful little starter and a nice point of difference to the plain bread often served in fine dining restaurants.
cucumber jelly, yuzu cream
As soon as I saw oysters on the starters menu, there was nothing more to think about. Cucumber jelly was a great accompaniment – it let you taste the fresh, salty oysters whilst just providing a bit of clean, refreshing flavour.
duck parfait, port jelly, truffle salad, brioche
Similar to a pate, the rich duck and truffle salad was matched perfectly with simple brioche.
(R0ttnest Island, Western Australia)
lemon emulsion, watercress veloute, Sterling caviar
This was probably my favourite dish, and both of us ordered it. This was scallops at their best and as they should be; plump, perfectly cooked and with a beautiful texture. The lemon emulsion looked so delicate yet was so full of tangy flavour, and the crisp disk of potato was the perfect base for those little bubbles of caviar.
STEAMED PINK SNAPPER
clams, mussels, braised endive, sea urchin butter
Continuing on with my seafood theme for the evening, I chose a beautiful, delicate piece of snapper served with a rich butter and Guillaume’s famous ‘Paris mash’ – the most silky smooth mashed potato I’ve ever had. The waiters came around with a big bowl of the mash and served it right there at the table. The creamy, buttery mash is, as described here by The Age, “potato heaven and wickedness itself”, but a spoonful is worth every calorie.
DEBONED RIB EYE OF TAJIMA WAGYU BEEF
(500 day grain fed, F1, marble grade 7-8)
shimeji mushroom, baby spinach, shallot, merlot sauce
As happy as I was with my main, I’d have to say that Mum’s pick was the winner – amazingly cooked wagyu was served with fairly simple sides and sauces to let the amazing rib eye remain the star of the dish.
Vanilla Panna Cotta with Fresh Strawberries
Between courses, we were served these little complimentary desserts. We laughed when we saw it was a panna cotta – my Mum is not a fan after a few bad experiences – but it was great and even she actually really enjoyed it.
pistachio gateaux, vanilla cream, creme brûlée, raspberry sorbet
This is such a simple looking dessert but there is so much going on on this plate. Always a sucker for creme brûlée, I loved the way these mini brûlées were served, perfectly circular and standing on their own. Smooth vanilla cream was a perfect base for the raspberry-themed dish, and those simple, fresh, plump raspberries were left to shine on their own.
VALRHONA CHOCOLATE SOUFFLE
vanilla bean and cherry ripple ice cream
As I’ve mentioned previously on the blog I don’t have a massive sweet tooth, but this was a perfect chocolate souffle that would leave any chocoholic in absolute heaven. The souffle was brought to the table with its top still intact, then our waiter spooned the vanilla bean and cherry ripple ice cream on top. It pierced the surface of the souffle and sunk to the middle, forming an amazing mix of flavours and hot, cold, smooth and gooey textures.
Our girls weekend was a special trip, and Guillaume at Bennelong was the perfect way to kick it off. Service was excellent and the food was unforgettable – I highly recommend it as a special occasion destination next time you’re down at the harbour.