Quay emerges as Opera House frontrunner

Contender: Quay's Peter Gilmore is eyeing the Bennelong prize.
Contender: Quay's Peter Gilmore is eyeing the Bennelong prize. Photo: Lisa Maree Williams

The team from the triple-toqued Quay restaurant has emerged as the frontrunner in the race for the Opera House's Bennelong restaurant.

With final presentations complete, it is believed the Bennelong prize is close for Quay, despite a late surge by another unidentified local restaurant group.

While Quay hitched its wagon to ricotta hotcakes king Bill Granger for a tilt at the Opera House site last year, the re-running of the race after the collapse of the winning bid by the Van Haandel Group has seen a reworking of the Quay pitch.

A spokesman for Quay refused to comment on any potential bid but Good Food understands the focus is on Quay chef Peter Gilmore creating a uniquely Australian restaurant for the Bennelong site, marrying "best practice" local produce with a sprinkling of native ingredients.

Gilmore's presence would be a coup for the Opera House after the calamity of the Bennelong process that saw chef Guillaume Brahimi decline to retender, confusion over its future food pitch, and lost income for the Opera House coffers due to delays.

An announcement on Bennelong's winning bid is expected next month, with a mid-2015 opening on the cards.