Opera Australia brings Spanish flavour to the harbour for Carmen (Sydney)

Gale Edward’s acclaimed production of Bizet’s Carmen will return to Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour in 2017, but there’s a new flavour coming to the experience this time. Fresh Catering have returned as dining partners to help shape the atmosphere, food and drink towards the performance.

Five different restaurant and bar areas on-site will serve a range of foods featuring the flavours of Spain’s diverse regions, in honour of the opera’s Spanish heritage. The harbour-side setting will open nightly at 5pm to encourage ticket-holders to grab food and drinks before the show.

The Platinum club, the first of five restaurants, offers a three-course sit down dining experience with table service and matching wines. For the occasion, Chef Geoff Haviland offers a set menu with includes Boqueria laden with cured and smoked meats, empanada pastries and Spanish salads. Sweets and dessert plates can be enjoyed later during the interval with waiters on-hand to top up glasses. Needless to say, reservations for are essential.

The Northern Terrace will offer guests a more laid-back approach to dining, with Valencian paella cooked right in front of you over an open flame. The Paella Bar will offer a choice of roasted vegetable frittata with traditional Sofrito and chickpeas, local fish with mussels, shrimp, calamari, chorizo, beans, garlic, artichoke, smoked paprika & saffron, or a Catalan chicken asado with olives, beans, potatoes, smoked almonds, all dishes served with crusty bread.

Of course, it wouldn’t be a Spanish experience without a Tapas Bar. Located on the Southern Terrace, guests will be spoiled for choice. For a fixed price, patrons can select from an amazing array of cold and hot tapas, prepared to order in a purpose-built kitchen with dishes ranging from patatas, bravas, emanadas, calamari, chorizo, chicken wings and pork belly infused with Spanish spices.

The Northern Cantina will offer cafe-style dining on the harbour, serving share plates of street market dishes of regional Spain. Guests are able to order their food and sit directly on the waterfront. 

On the Southern end of the site, the Qantas Garden Bar will offer small bites, street food and drinks beside the harbour. Purpose-designed to replicate a market stall one would find at the world-famous La Boqueria in Barcelona, this bar will feature specific Catalunya street food, known as Coca. These small pizza-like flatbreads feature a range of toppings and perfectly represent the flavours of the region. The cocas are finished in a ceramic based deck pizza oven, giving it its smoky flavour. Better yet: Qantas Bar will serve cooked-to-order Churros during interval. 

Sweet and savoury delicacies, including oysters and sparkling wine are available from satellite Sparkling & Oyster Bar carts throughout the venue.

As a fitting tribute to the opera’s fiery heroine, the ultimate Spanish signature drink – red wine sangria – will be offered almost everywhere, served either hot or cold. The popularity of Hermosita (meaning ‘little beauty’) a Mimosa made with blood orange and sparkling wine and topped with aromatic burnt cinnamon and citrus zest will not lag far behind.

For bookings and more information head https://opera.org.au/whatson/events/carmen-on-sydney-harbour

Images: Fresh Catering