I recently had some birthday drinks and nibbles at the Opera Bar, which was really a shameless excuse to try their Vegetarian Tasting Plate ($42). Verdict? Mostly fab – except for the orange braised fennel (no vegetable quite hits the ‘uh!’ button like fennel) and over-lemony veg tartlets. The fried won-tons were incredible though, and the little pureed pocket inside the crispy wrapper had been mashed into this exquisitely unrecognisable harmony of flavours that when someone asked you what exactly was in it, all you could do was shrug and say, “I don’t know, but it’s damn good!” (For the sleuths out there, the menu says it’s tofu and ginger.)
The Mezze Plate ($17) is also decent – and the beetroot dip is especially good (although not dress-friendly as I discovered when it slopped onto what I was wearing.) You can also top up the plate with extra bread ($2 a plate) if you can’t quite perfect your dip-to-bread ratio.
Seeing as I’ve scribbled a lot of gush about the Opera Bar recently, there’s no need to cover much more about it – although the ridiculously quick menu change from our only fortnight-old visit is a conspiracy for us to go there and try all the new dishes. (A conspiracy I’m happy to take part in, especially when it involves Mango Sorbet & Vanilla Semifredo with Candied Mango & Lime Syrup.)
One thing to mention though – Nicky had very generously given me an assortment of loveheart-stamped tarts as a present (also a reference to the fact I’m born on schmaltzy Valentine’s Day). She had picked them up from Swiss Bakerz on Oxford Street, Darlinghurst, and she says despite the dodgy name, she does vouch for them because they do very mean pies. I had the tarts in their box (uneaten) lying next to the Opera Bar food and I guess someone from the Opera Bar Police came by and asked me to put them away (even though we weren’t even nibbling on them). Fair enough, as they have a strict Our-Food-Only rule on their premises, but his directive has since steamrolled into the amusing catchcry “Put Your Tarts Away, Woman!”, which we like to use whenever the occasion calls (and often when there’s no rational reason to use it at all).
Opera Bar, Lower Concourse Level, Sydney Opera House, Sydney NSW 2000, (02) 9247 1666, www.operabar.com.au
Swiss Bakerz, 101 Oxford Street Darlinghurst, Sydney NSW 2010,(02) 9361 5643