Opera Australia Blog

Food bloggers give top scores to Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour

Decadent Chocolate and Ginger Mousse from the Platinum Club

Decadent Chocolate and Ginger Mousse from the Platinum Club. Image courtesy of Fresh Catering.

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.

Platinum Club bar. Image courtesy of Food, Booze & Shoes.

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.”

Miso Marinated Wagyu Beef from the Platinum Club.

Miso Marinated Wagyu Beef from the Platinum Club. Image courtesy of Fresh Catering.

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 Southern Terrace. Photo by James Morgan.

The Southern Terrace. Photo by James Morgan.

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.”

Mixed plate of Japanese-inspired tapas. Image courtesy Fresh Catering.

Mixed plates of Japanese-inspired tapas. Image courtesy Fresh Catering.

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.

Northern Cantina. Image courtesy of 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.

7 Responses to “Food bloggers give top scores to Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour”

  1. Grahame Abberton

    The Opera and the organisation were great HOWEVER, whilst you expect to pay more at these events, you would expect more than one small prawn in a prawn pizza!!!
    Dominos could produce better value and still give the organizers a tidy return.

    • Jennifer Williams

      Hi Grahame, I’m sorry you were disappointed with your pizza. I’ve passed your comment on to Fresh Catering. I’m thrilled you enjoyed the performance! – Jennifer

      • Steve Thomas

        Last Tuesday night my wife and I opted for the Japanese noodles with vegies as we were not very hungry, just as well as it contained a box of greasy noodles with 3 overcooked bits of broccoli. Don’t know about the hygiene standards either as my wife spent all Wednesday morning in the loo with chronic diarrhea.

        Generally speaking other friends attending the event – food ‘appalling’.

  2. Gary Humble

    We were completely underwhelmed by the food at the Northern Terrace and overwhelmed by the price gouging.
    Of the different dishes the five of us ate, only the mushroom pizza could be rated as barely acceptable, though the addition of mushrooms would have been welcome. The chicken chop salad would be better labelled gluggy rice with chicken garnish and the tofu in the tofu salad appeared undrained from the deep-fryer and rested for several days. Fifteen bucks was about five times the worth of a bit of Coon cheese and supermarket camembert with four crackers and a breadstick and as for the $5 water bottles….
    We were looking forwards to the macarons, unfortunately they had run out over an hour before the performance.

  3. Denise Pearson

    We enjoyed the pre-performance food, eating the beef spare ribs but we thought the intermission “canapes” in the Platinum Club were very disappointing. Club sandwiches do not qualify, in my mind, as a canape, the sushi was interesting and the only other option was arancini. We would not pay $50 each for that again.

    However we did love the performance, the sound, the setting, the fireworks were all glorious. The only criticism would be that the contemporary costume didn’t reflect the mores of the time. We see that Rigoletto is to be staged in the costume of the age and we think that is a far better decision.


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