Review: Carmen inspires a Spanish feast at Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour – Mrs Macquaries Point (Sydney)

With spectacular harbour views and the Sydney cityscape as a backdrop, Carmen at Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour is a delight for the senses with vibrant costumes, spectacular fireworks, and as a result Spanish-inspired dining.

Five different restaurant and bar areas, ranging from casual to fine dining, are on offer for pre-performance experiences. Casual options are available such as paellas and chicken Asado on the Northern Terrace, a tapas bar at the Southern Terrace, cafe-style dining at Northern Cantina, or small bites and drinks at the Qantas Garden Bar.

For those seeking quality and fine dining, The Platinum Club is the perfect pre-performance dinner. The undercover pop up restaurant offers a three-course meal with matching wines ($245). Created by Fresh Catering’s award-winning chef Geoff Haviland, the Spanish-inspired menu demonstrates restraint and skill.

We’re off to a great start at The Platinum Club with Pan Catalan (Spanish tomato bread) served with a flavoursome white bean and sherry braised garlic tapenade. For our three courses to follow, we’re given the choice of two or three dishes.

The first course of tortilla de patatas nuevo with truffled potato, 65-degree egg, jamon iberico (the vegetarian option comes sans jamon), sheep’s milk curd, congo chips, and sofrito sauce is the highlight for me. It ticks all the boxes: a perfect sous vide egg providing creaminess, a delicious stack of potatoes, a hit of saltiness from the curd, all rounded off with a sweet sofrito.

For my main, the line caught barramundi fillet, wood-roasted beets with bacalao fritter, white anchovy boquerones, and smoked piquillo aioli delivers a good amount of flavour, though the barramundi could have benefited from a crispy skin. Two other options for the main course include grass-fed Highland lamb loin on celeriac puree with chorizo marmalade, fava beans and sherry roasted wild shallot or chargrilled aubergine rotolo of heirloom vegetables and quinoa, served with wild mushroom sauce and pastry shards.

My meal culminates with a trio of artisan Spanish cheese with quince, crackers, and lavosh. It’s hard to beat a great cheese board, but I do try a spoonful of my dining companion’s chocolate dessert and it’s delightful. The bittersweet chocolate cremeux is beautifully presented with salted dulce de leech, a Pedro Ximenez truffle, and alfajores shortbread crumble.

Wines to match the indulgent three-course meal include Tyrrell’s Pinot Noir Chardonnay Brut, Stevens Single Vineyard Semillon, and Lunatiq Heathcote Shiraz.

An interval dessert plate ($60) offers a delicious break in the middle of the opera performance with creme caramel and macarons to satisfy your sweet tooth. At the Platinum Club, a Pre-Performance Boqueria Buffet ($130) is also available.

For our review on the performance head on over to our Arts section HERE.

Performance Information

Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour
Carmen is running until April 23
Performance begins at 7:30pm
Site opens at 5pm for bar and restaurant venues
Fleet Steps, Mrs Macquaries Point, Sydney

Bookings

Dinner booking available at time of ticket purchase from https://opera.org.au/harbour
Adult tickets for performance only from $99 (booking fees apply)
Reservations for the Platinum Club to drink or dine are essential.

All photos by Sarah Han, except fireworks image of Carmen by Prudence Upton.