Sometime over 200 years ago, Bennelong Point was a tidal rock island in the heart of the Gadigal lands. It has been said this was a location for Aboriginal women to congregate on the rising tide, eat shellfish by the fire and tell stories.
Bennelong Point is recorded as the largest midden found in Australia. Sometime after British settlement, these midden shells were burned and crushed to manufacture lime required to build Government House.
Government House soon became a centre for communication between First Nations and colonists, mostly due to a man called Bennelong who befriended Governor Phillip and was the first First Nation person to live voluntarily in the settlement.
Bennelong came from the Wangal clan on the southern side of the Parramatta River, and was married to a woman by the name of Barangaroo. Bennelong, who was a great dancer and mimic, became a figurehead for relations between First Nations and the colonists, and lived in a house built on this harbour-point.
Bennelong Restaurant is built on a site enriched with history of communal eating and telling stories. We invite you to create your own story in one of the most recognisable buildings in the world.
Bennelong serves to celebrate the Sydney Opera House and its extraordinary architecture by offering a culturally significant and inspiring menu showcasing a most magnificent production of Australian food and wine.
Executive Chef Peter Gilmore explains the philosophy that drives Bennelong:
“Bennelong is all about the provenance of the food we are serving. The menu is very much crafted in partnership with the farmers, fishermen, breeders and providores from across the land with whom our chefs work together with every day. It’s a two way process: we’re responding to what’s in season and the best of what producers are bringing us, but on another level, we are planning menus a season or two ahead, working hand-in-glove with our producers to develop ingredients tailored to Bennelong’s menus.
We’ve made sure the dining experience at Bennelong is accessible and flexible. Our cooking is not overly technical and tricky – it’s robust and direct – allowing the pure flavours of the ingredients to sing. We’ve enjoyed developing a whimsical dessert menu based on traditional Australian sweets, and the wine list, similarly – is a reflection of the best of Australia – without taking itself too seriously.
We are truly excited to be creating food that honours this iconic space and its extraordinary architecture. Bennelong’s menus are a reflection of where the culture of Australian food is today.”
Bennelong Point Sydney Opera House, Sydney NSW 2000