What To Eat At The Opera

Marlo Perry
1st Apr 2016

Handa Opera On The Harbour remains one of the most, if not the most, accessible cultural events in this city with 50% of its audience being first-time opera-goers. Historically, these statistics have told Opera Australia that a delightfully unpredictable crowd with varied tastes will be attending on any night of the season, which is why Fresh Catering has been entrusted for their 5th year in a row to round out the fully immersive sensory experience that Turandot is.

Opera is one of those thing that invigorates the senses in the same way food does. The drama displayed in the costumes, in the set design and, of course, in the music itself is very much aligned to the passion and creativity that goes into so many of the meals we eat everyday. At Handa Opera On Sydney Harbour spectacular event, Turandot, the performance and the food available at the various outlets are intertwined through a cohesive and carefully curated selection of Chinese-inspired foods to suit every taste and budget.

Fresh Catering Culinary Director, Geoff Haviland spent three years living in Hong Kong, where he learned the ins and outs of Chinese cuisine. He wanted to really delve into the dynasty in which Turandot was set - a time when guests travelling to the palace brought their own chefs, which meant no cuisine was truly the same. With this idea in mind, when dining at Turandot, Haviland wanted to offer a definitive Chinese flavour without forcing any one particular region. The result is an array of food options featuring traditional flavours of soy, rock sugar, black vinegar and Szechuan pepper across the Southern and Northern Terraces, Cantina and Platinum Club.

If you’re going all out – let’s call it a La Traviata affair – the Platinum Club is the place for you. Choose between a beautiful three-course meal in a private dining area ($235 pp) or a decadent buffet ($125 pp) and don’t forget that each option includes matched Tyrrell’s Wines. However, if you’re on more of a La Boheme budget you certainly won’t miss out. With small bites starting at $8 and including Pambula Oysters with Sesame Seaweed Salad & Flying Fish Roe and a selection of bao you can sample a few different snacks or go for something a little more substantial like the best-selling General Tso’s Chicken ($22), Crispy Fried Tofu Rice Balls with Water Chestnuts ($20) or Mongolian Braised Lamb ($24).

In keeping with the royal theme of the evening one can enjoy a dessert high tea sitting at interval. For $60 per person, and including a glass of Tyrrell’s Pinot Noir Chardonnay Brut, classic Chinese desserts such as Hong Kong Custard Tart and Sweet Potato Syrup Cake are served on a tiered stand with a back drop of Sydney Harbour as you anticipate the 2nd act of the show. It is a most inspired way to pass the time.

Turandot is playing now until April 24th.