Breakfast at the Opera Bar at the Opera House. Photo: Fiona Morris
On a junket to Sydney in June, Brad Pitt tried Vegemite for the first time. He was spruiking a crummy zombie blockbuster, but his credibility rating inched up slightly as he dug a finger into the black stuff and didn't flinch when he put it in his mouth. Onya, Brad.
The actor was also distracted by his backdrop, which he kept craning around to admire. ''I'm a little bit excited to be in front of that building,'' he said.
I can't remember the first time I saw the Opera House, yet there are still times when I'm gobsmacked by its magnificence, and the good fortune that it got built in the first place.
Eggs on sourdough, poached or fried, bacon, tomato. Photo: Fiona Morris
It has been democratised in the past 10 years or so, with bars, cafes and markets, but coming for breakfast still feels a bit odd. Presumably Opera Bar's new weekend morning menu hopes to attract tourists staying in the city, but on a sunny winter's day, nothing beats this view for digging into poached eggs, whether you're from Dubai or Denistone.
The weather has been unseasonably warm, but there's a cuttingly chill breeze when we arrive at 9.30am. The waiter behind the counter, who takes orders, payments and doles out table numbers, looks frost-bitten.
For one mad moment we consider sitting inside, but it's simply not an option. The smattering of other early-bird guests obviously agrees: we huddle around our tables looking over to the Carnival Spirit docked at the Overseas Passenger Terminal and the Harbour Bridge. Half an hour makes a difference - by 10am, it's quite pleasant.
The short, canny menu delivers a selection of greatest brekky hits, including granola, baked eggs and croque monsieur. Coffee is by Di Gabriel, teas are Tea Drop and you can order a glass of sparkling, starting at $8.50, or lash out on a bottle of French champagne for $120.
Coffee, tea and orange juice will do us, but our flat whites are too weak, the Earl Grey comes in tea-bag form, and the juice is bog-standard, not freshly squeezed.
Fortunately, the food is a lot better.
The baked eggs are a standout in their individual cast-iron pan, a steaming meal of slightly spicy Boston-style baked beans and fresh spinach with two perfectly gooey eggs sitting in the mix, plus a generous serve of sourdough to dip and scoop.
Classic poached eggs on sourdough are also perfectly cooked, with bacon and tomato included in the price of $17 (so much better than charging $4 each for extras). A nicely toasted panini is filled with smoked salmon, chopped egg, capers and lime mayonnaise.
Our most unusual choice is the breakfast quesadilla: four light, crispy tortilla triangles pressed flat with egg, manchego cheese and thinly shaved chorizo. It's tasty but would have been a bit dry without the well-judged mini-heirloom tomato salad that accompanies it.
With decent drinks and slightly more attentive service, this would be a pretty perfect breakfast, no more expensive than the usual Sydney cafe scene. Afterwards, we mingle with the tourists on the Opera House steps. Sure, this city has its faults - bad traffic, extortionate real-estate, narcissistic tendencies - but on such a day it's hard not to feel a little bit proud of it.
Now go on, if you haven't seen it, Google ''Brad Pitt Vegemite''. You know you want to.
Menu Classic breakfast with a few twists.
Value Good. Smoked salmon panini $10, croque monsieur $12, chorizo, egg, manchego quesadilla $16.
Recommended dishes Baked eggs, poached eggs, smoked salmon panini.
- Cuisine - Contemporary
- Features - Views
- Opening Hours - Breakfast Sat-Sun, 9-11.30am, no bookings
- Author - Jacqui Taffel