Have you seen the headline? The NSW Government Is Giving Away 200,000 Vouchers to Help Pay For Your Next Staycation. It’s true – under the initiative, each NSW resident aged 18 and over is eligible to receive four vouchers, two Dine and two Discover, worth $25 apiece and valid until June 30.
The scheme lets you spend the Dine vouchers at participating restaurants, cafes, bars, wineries, pubs and clubs, while the Discover vouchers can be used for entertainment and recreation, including cultural institutions, live music, and arts venues. Why yes there is a rather large precinct on the harbour you may have heard about where all those things come together quite nicely.
The Sydney Opera House, with its many drinking and dining venues and jam-packed roster of events, offers a multitude of options to take advantage of the initiative. For example the Dine vouchers can be spent at Opera Kitchen, Opera Bar, Portside and Bennelong and the Discover vouchers can be used to book shows and experiences across Opera, Music, Theatre, Dance, Comedy, Talks and Tours.
Here are five suggestions for how you can make the most of your Dine & Discover NSW vouchers at the Sydney Opera House.
Watch an off-beat musical
American Psycho is one of the most banned books of all time – so how could you resist the thrill of being able to see it on the stage? The musical version of the story follows the privileged, psychotic Patrick Bateman as he publicly succeeds on Wall Street and secretly goes on a chilling killing spree. The dark comedy has won nine Sydney Theatre Awards, including Best Direction of a Musical and Best Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role.
Indulge in a Bennelong pav
Bennelong executive chef Peter Gilmore—he of the Snow Egg—is known for his spectacular statement desserts. Another such masterful creation is Bennelong’s pavlova. Gilmore’s take on the famous Australian dessert sees poached meringue filled with seasonal fruit and topped with piped whipped double cream and Italian meringue. Crowning this sculptural wonder are shards of crisp meringue, mimicking the Opera House’s famous sails. Order this impressive confection as the final dish of Bennelong’s three-course à la carte menu, available from Thursday dinner through to Sunday lunch for $160.
Spend a night at the ballet
In the post-lockdown world (at least for now), when it’s a buzz to simply put on pants and step out of the house, an evening spent at the ballet feels like a true treat. From April 6 - 24, The Australian Ballet presents New York Dialects in the Joan Sutherland Theatre. For decades, the city of New York has served as the epicentre of Western culture, exerting an outsized influence on the arts felt all the way down under in Australia. In his first outing as Artistic Director of The Australian Ballet, David Hallberg celebrates the work of two of the Big Apple’s most esteemed choreographers: the late George Balanchine, the co-founder of The New York Ballet who is revered as the father of American ballet, and critically acclaimed contemporary practitioner Pam Tanowitz. It’s a then and now of modern dance that showcases the impressive talents of the dancers from Australian’s premier ballet company.
If you’re looking for a classic for the whole family, The Little Prince combines dance, aerial acrobatics, and new technologies to create a “dreamlike and poetic universe”.
Slurp on ramen at Opera Kitchen
In March, Opera Kitchen re-opened as a market food hall, replete with Italian pasta bar and Japanese kitchen. Its aim is all-day dining: think Single O coffee and sweet Italian pastries for breakfast, a salmon sashimi poke bowl with edamame, avocado, shiso and sesame for lunch, and a bowl of veal ragu with rigatoni for a satisfying dinner. For an after-work pick-me-up that costs less than a Dine voucher, it’s hard to go past a bowl of umami-rich ramen. Choose from the kombu ($22) with tofu, sweet corn and shiitake or the tonkotsu ($24) with braised pork, bamboo shoot, black fungi and a soy egg.
Catch an award-winning comedy
Just at a moment we’re collectively re-evaluating the role of women in society, Home, I'm Darling, a witty, Oliver Award-winning comedy by British playwright Laura Wade, feels especially relevant. Judy, played by Andrea Demetriades, is a former lawyer-turned-housewife who is married to Johnny, a real estate agent vying for a much-needed promotion played by Anthony Taufa. The twist? It’s present day, and Judy’s decision to give up her career and independence to be the perfect homemaker infuriates her feminist mother, an ardent Second Wave feminist who recalls the 1950s with anything but fond nostalgia. Home, I'm Darling runs from April 6 to May 15 May in the Drama Theatre.
This article is produced by Broadsheet in partnership with Sydney Opera House.