Vivid, Sydney’s festival of light and ideas, is in its 11th incarnation this year. Running from 24 May to 15 June 2019, this year’s festival will include seminars, performances, music and light sculptures that transform the city. If there was ever an excuse to eat out in the city this is it.
With unsurpassed views of the greatest of the Vivid canvases – the sails of the Sydney Opera House – Matt Moran’s Aria offers the ultimate in ringside dining for Sydney’s festival of light. Choose from a two or three course pre-theatre menu (from 5.30-7pm) or make a night of it with executive chef Joel Bickford’s seven-course modern Australian tasting menu.
You can’t get much closer to the Vivid action than Bennelong, beneath the sails of the Sydney Opera House. Whether you are seeing a Vivid Live show at the Opera House itself, or wandering through the light sculptures in the Botanic Gardens, enjoy pre-Vivid dining on superb modern Australian dishes from Peter Gilmore and Rob Cockerill, with two courses for $90 and three for $120. Or book a seat at Bennelong’s Cured and Cultured Bar for a drink and a snack.
Watch the comings and goings at Circular Quay while enjoying Eastbank’s relaxed blend of Modern Australian and Italian cuisine. Start with Oysters or Whitebait fritti, then follow with Lamb rack, Kangaroo fillet or the signature Linguine al cartoccio – pasta with prawns, mussels, squid and fish in tomato sauce baked in a parchment bag. There are pizzas too, ranging from a simple Margherita to a punchy Salami, topped with chilli and sharpened with Provolone cheese.
Family friendly Encasa offers the very best of Spanish cuisine in the heart of Sydney. The extensive tapas menu features favourite Spanish dishes such as chorizo a la plancha, boquerones (marinated white anchovies) and gambas al ajillo (sizzling king prawns in chilli and garlic oil). With bookings available from 5pm it’s the perfect starting point for a Vivid night out.
Walk in the doors of Felix and you’re transported instantly to a brasserie in the heart of Paris. With its pewter bar, imported chandeliers and Parisian subway tiles Felix’s interior sparkles as brightly as the Vivid lights outside and is the perfect spot to start or end your CBD Vivid exploration. Enjoy brasserie classics such as Plateau de fruits de mer, Twice baked Gruyère soufflé and Hand cut steak tartare.
Fix is a true wine lover’s paradise and one of Sydney’s best kept dining secrets. Owner/operator Stuart Knox is one of Sydney’s most knowledgeable wine figures, and his 250+ list focuses on small, handcrafted – sometimes natural, often unusual – wines from around the globe. There’s a strong focus on quality seasonal produce in the kitchen, with dishes such as Salt and pepper whitebait with yuzu mayo, Heirloom tomato puttanesca with ‘nduja gremolata and Minute steak with red wine butter.
With a special offer avaliable 5pm-6pm everyday during Vivid – 1 classic pizza or pasta with a glass of wine or beer and Gelato to finish for $20 – Fratelli Fresh Darling Harbour is the ideal location to kick off your Vivid night out. The contemporary Italian menu showcases the freshest seasonal produce with moreish dishes such as Ravioli with mushrooms, peas, ricotta and gorgonzola and Rigatoni with lamb ragu, chilli and parmesan. An extensive kids’ menu means the junior diners will be happy too.
This offer is also available at Bridge Street, Westfield and Walsh Bay locations.
Mike McEnearney’s canteen-by-day offers informal a la carte dining after dark and it’s perfectly located in Bent Street as the starting point for a CBD Vivid light tour. Enjoy hearty, uncomplicated and locally sourced food from the daily changing chalkboard menu and an all Australian wine list.
For more than 55 years The Malaya has been bringing South-East Asian food to Sydney, with signature dishes such as King prawn laksa, Coconut beef rendang, Szechuan eggplant and Silken tofu. Its harbourside location on King Street Wharf puts you close to the Vivid action in both Darling Harbour and Barangaroo.
Saké brings a unique spin to tried and tested Japanese flavours, cementing its reputation as one of Australia’s best Japanese restaurants. The Rocks location, just metres from the Museum of Contemporary Art, is an the ideal starting point for your Vivid night out. Signature dishes include Hiramasa kingfish with coriander infused sweet ponzu lime and jalapeno and Popcorn shrimp with yuzu chilli mayonnaise. There’s also an extensive sushi bar menu complemented by one of Australia’s best sake lists.
Less than a pakora toss from Circular Quay, The Spice Room offers an extensive, authentic feasting menu comprising street food, tandoori classics, curries and sweets from many regions of India. A highlight is the internal courtyard filled with Indian décor and antiques. Signature dishes include a deconstructed samosa, Tandoori lamb koti roll and Chicken tikka, but with many meat-free dishes it’s a winner for vegetarians too. The three course pre-theatre menu with wine beer or lassi (for $39.95) is a true bargain, and will equip you well for your Vivid activities to follow.
Have an American Express® Card?
Between 14 May and 16 June 2019, American Express is offering a $20 statement credit when you sync your American Express Card. Book any of the above restaurants and dine, paying on your synced Card. To take advantage of this offer, you must sync your American Express Card prior to making the booking.
Looking for some additional dining suggestions for Vivid?