Culinary Royalty: Guillaume at Bennelong

My first post! Let us start off with the pizzazz of Sydney’s food scene derived from its oxymoronic culinary delights! From dining at hatted restaurants to hole in the wall joints, each manages to deliver true satisfaction to the taste buds!  We begin with one end of the eclectic spectrum at the hatted Guillaume @ Bennelong.

It was the big one-eight for one of my close friends (Happy Birthday M!) and in true style, she chose to celebrate this milestone at this famous restaurant with a view. The evening began with pre-dinner drinks at the Shangrila… as we readied our stomachs for the true food connoisseur experience!

Walking up the Sydney Opera House stairs, I, or rather my appetite was bursting with anticipation, whet by those words glowing in gold.

We chose to undertake the challenge of the four course a la carte menu. Here we gooo…from beginning to end with each bite more satisfying than the last ☺

Love at first sight <3:

Bread. My true weakness. How could I refuse?? We were given the choice of sourdough and brioche with caramelised onion. Who would pass up on the awesomeness and uniqueness of the brioche?! I definitely thought it would beat the stock standard sourdough with butter! …And how right I was!! The innards of the crisp and buttery brioche took complimentary bread to a whole new level.

The amuse bouche was a truffle and gruyere pastry…need I say more?? These little puffs of delight burst with heavenly warm cheese on first bite. Sigh….

First Course:

Being the seafood lover that I am, I chose the oysters with cucumber jelly and yuzu cream. A fresh oyster was the perfect way to start off. Despite the daunting idea of green jelly, my tastebuds were thoroughly satisfied!

P chose the basil infused yellowfin tuna with soy and mustard seed vinaigrette. By its freshness we knew that Guillaume was not going to disappoint!

The birthday girl chose the duck rillettes, a duck parfait with port jelly, truffle salad and brioche. This was a new experience, never having tried anything like this dish before! The combination of brioche with the moist layers of goodness had me beaming from ear to ear!

Each was beautiful in its own way and we could not help but steal a few bites of each and share our entrees!

Second Course:

Scallops, when done well make the world a better place! My choice of scallops with a lemon emulsion, watercress veloute and sterling caviar certainly did just that with its slightly crispy outsides and oh so tender flesh.

There were two specials of the night that our waiter sold very well to us! Both P and M opted for the specials for their second courses!

P’s creamy mushroom risotto adorned with slices of truffle left her speechless and myself crying for more when I devoured this heaven on a plate for my third course.

M’s silence said it all as she slowly savoured her scampi with spaghettini. It’s presentation made it almost too gorgeous to eat, but the consensus of all three of our stomachs convinced her otherwise.

Third Course (starting to feel full now…):

The final savoury course! We all started to brace our stomachs for the frenzy of the highly anticipated dessert.

A delectable protein hit for both P and M came in the form of deboned rib eye of wagyu beef with shimeji mushroom, baby spinach, shallot and merlot sauce. A sneaky side of the creamiest, fluffiest, most exquisite mash potato accompanied this course. The word “mash” had been truly redefined. Oh if only for another forkful….

Unable to resist the special of the mushroom risotto, I requested it for my third course and the kitchen was happy to oblige. Hallelujah!! Not to mention, the little dollop of mash that they gave me as well. I was in food heaven!

Interlude (Pre-dessert):

As if there wasn’t already enough food to stomach, pre-dessert was presented to us in the delicate and petite form of strawberry vanilla panna cotta. The strawberry sorbet undercut by the light creaminess was a joyful palette cleanser, readying us for the intensive dessert course!

Fourth Course (The Grand Finale):

They say the best is saved for last, making dessert the favourite and most anticipated part of my meals.

P ordered the apple tart fine with cinnamon ice cream. Something about this dessert is purely comforting – perfect for the winter season.

The beauty of the valrhona chocolate soufflé belonged to M and I. This light and fluffy pot of goodness coupled with a scoop of ice-cream breaking past the crispness and melted into luscious depths of the innards tingled our tastebuds, bringing us to an oh so sweet ending to a wonderful evening.
This was truly an amazing experience and the perfect way to celebrate M’s birthday.  A fantastic restaurant with unforgettable food and views.  Happy Birthday M!
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