By Bryce Hallett
The majesty and drama of Madama Butterfly has won over opera critics, music lovers and the public at large. But what of the notoriously-fickle food reviewers and bloggers?
Well, they have whipped themselves into a soufflé of delight with the combination of food and opera set against a sparkling harbour.
No sooner had the bloggers tasted their last sweet morsel of the event then they were spreading the word about the skills and flair of Fresh Catering and how truly sumptuous the theatrical spectacle is.
In the blog Noodlies – Food, Travel, Lifestyle, Eve Chataway, relished the event’s welcoming nature, its variety of taste sensations and elegant execution. “The occasion is unique, especially teamed with the luxury of the Platinum Club … The dishes are full of clean flavours, and while decadent in their own way, do not sit heavy on the stomach, which, bearing in mind you are about to sit through an opera, is a relief – certainly no carbs crash before you’ve even reached the interval.
“Enter the Platinum Club Lounge and you will be greeted with clean lines, black wood, Philippe Starck ghost chairs, parasols hanging from the ceiling, and (a particularly lovely touch) miniature Zen sand gardens on each table. The Japanese thread provides inspiration for the menu too.
The Miso Marinated Wagyu Beef came up a solid medium and I was a little apprehensive as I cut into it that it might be overdone, but it was perfect. The knife went straight through it and the taste was sensational, the miso acting to complement the beef rather than overpower it.”
Food, Booze & Shoes was further impressed by Fresh Catering’s work after speaking to managing director Peter McCloskey about the logistics of catering for an outdoor event. “McCloskey shared that while designing menus for Opera on Sydney Harbour each year is the fun part, the biggest challenge is the logistics of getting the food and beverage options up and running. From preparation to sales points, serving 2,500-4,000 people nightly and outdoors with a variety of options is no small feat.”
The blog, Belly Rumbles – A Culinary Adventure complimented the broad appeal of the menus.
“If grabbing something to eat from either the Northern or Southern Terrace there is something to suit most tastes. On offer you will find chicken katsu or soy bean & avocado burgers, teriyaki chicken or wild Asian mushroom or miso prawn pizzas and various salads including salmon teriyaki, crisp white cut chicken and tofu & bean. Sushi rolls and of course dessert, including cherry blossom parfait and brownies.”
The appealing and relaxing Adina Garden Bar, where you can get noodles and fried chicken bun to go – got the vote of approval as did the Northern Cantina with its bright red beams, Japanese signs, lanterns and seats at the harbour’s edge. Site designer Eamon D’Arcy was keen to create the look and feel of a Tokyo marketplace and has succeeded admirably.
“At the Cantina you will find Japanese share plates, including edamame, chicken yakitori and popcorn shrimp, and more substantial mains, like Japanese curry and BBQ miso salmon,” writes Food, Booze & Shoes.
In the eyes – and mouths – of Sydney’s food bloggers Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour is as much part of Sydney’s cultural calendar as it is its culinary calendar.
Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour – Madama Butterfly runs until 13 April 2014. You can add a Platinum Club pre-performance dinner to your evening when you purchase your tickets. Full menu and more information on dining options.