With spectacular views of Sydney Harbour and the Sydney Opera House, The Platinum Club at Handa Opera is pop-up dining at its most exclusive. The undercover restaurant offers unique opera dining experiences themed according to the production. Indulge in a pre-performance three-course meal, a signature buffet, or a dessert high tea during the interval, all devised by Fresh Catering’s Chef Geoff Haviland.
Pre-Performance Dinner at The Platinum Club
The three-course meal ($235) draws from Chinese flavours and inspirations to echo the setting of the opera Turandot. Patrons are asked to choose from a two or three options for their entrees, mains, and desserts. I opt for the vegetarian tasting platter to start, a board abundant with delicious morsels. The highlight for me is the celery and egg shreds with miso dressing, brimming with flavour. I also like the combination of eating the braised aubergine in fragrant sauce together with the spring onion pancakes. The crispy fried rice balls with tofu & shiitake mushrooms don’t quite live up to their crispy description, and the open wonton of Asian slaw with miso ranch dressing and peanut sambal could benefit from a bit more dressing.
For my second course I settle on the steamed barramundi with lobster fried rice, snake beans, and a black bean butter sauce. The flavours are fantastic, and especially the lobster fried rice is a stand-out. My favourite part about Chinese cuisine is the chilli, so my only hesitation at tonight’s dinner is that there’s an apparent lack of spiciness in all dishes.
I also try a bite of the beef main from my neighbour: braised wagyu beef shortrib with rice noodle roll, wolfberries, Chinese greens and five spice pork scratchings. The beef melts in your mouth and is packed full of umami goodness. The pork scratchings not only add texture, but also bring a salty, moreish flavour profile to the dish.
Last but not least is the green tea pavlova with kumquat curd, black sesame cream, and lychee salad. The pavlova itself is missing the intensity of green tea, but I’m a fan of everything else on the plate. The fruits add tangy freshness, and the black sesame cream deepens the dessert with a rich nuttiness.
Accompanying beverages are not only coffee and tea, but also Tyrrell’s Pinot Noir Chardonnay Brut, Stevens Single Vineyard Semillon, and Stevens Single Vineyard Shiraz.
For a more relaxed pre-opera feast, there’s also the Signature Buffet ($125). Full menu is listed here.
Interval Dessert High Tea at The Platinum Club
A dessert high tea ($60) is available during the 35-minute interval of the opera. Indulge in a sweet potato syrup cake, steamed red bean pudding, maple caramel & green tea macaron, Hong Kong custard tart, and black sesame cream with a cup of coffee or tea.
Turandot on Sydney Harbour
With vibrant costumes, a 60-metre dragon structure, 223 speakers in play to carry the music, and the city’s most stunning views overlooking Sydney Harbour, Turandot has it all. The production brings together music, drama, dance, and art to manifest a feast for the senses. Especially memorable is the beautiful aria Nessun dorma, giving me goosebumps and culminating in a spectacular firework climax. Don’t miss this captivating opera event.
Ticket prices start at $70. To book, call 02 9318 8200 or head to the Opera Australia website.
Turandot on Sydney Harbour
Address: Fleet Steps, Mrs Macquaries Point
Dates: 24 March – 24 April 2016
Platinum Club Dining: Reservations essential
All images by Sarah Han, except for the Turandot stage image.