Peter Gilmore has the harbour covered. The Quay chef is set to take over the Bennelong space in the Sydney Opera House, across the water from his flagship restaurant in the Overseas Passenger Terminal.
"What we want to do with Bennelong is focus even more on the diversity of Australian produce and the quality of what we have growing all around the country," says Gilmore. "The food will be just a little bit simpler than the technical-driven food that I do at Quay."
Gilmore plans to transform the room into a multifaceted space, with high-end dining on the lower level; a "cured and cultured" section in the middle, focusing on the likes of fresh seafood and pickled vegetables; a more laid-back restaurant/bar hybrid on the upper level designed to capture the pre- and post-show crowds; plus a private dining room and a chef's table.
"The concept is perfect for Bennelong's tri-level layout," says Opera House CEO Louise Herron. "This is an excellent result for dining in Sydney, and for our roles as one of the busiest performing arts centres in the world and the nation's premier tourist attraction."
The space has been up for tender since Guillaume Brahimi vacated the venue last December and a false start by Melbourne's Van Haandel Group in March. Under the 10-year agreement, Gilmore will dedicate the majority of his time to the new restaurant while maintaining his position as executive chef at Quay. He'll be assisted by Quay's senior sous-chef Robert Cockerill, with The Fink Group's wine consultant Ned Goodwin taking care of the pours.
Bennelong will be open for dinner seven nights a week, lunch Friday to Sunday and brunch on Sundays. Doors are slated to open in June.
"We're very much looking forward to being able to get in there and do something special," Gilmore says.