After two long years of lockdown, the city of Sydney is about to come alive during Vivid, the colorful celebration of “creativity, curiosity and change”.
Between Friday May 27th and Saturday June 18th there will be spectacular light shows, dance parties and performances by local and international artists. The visual spectacle will extend to the dinner table, as a selection of restaurants across the city will create unique special menus for the festival.
We’ve rounded up 10 of this year’s most exciting Vivid dining experiences, from long dinner parties in a lit alley to colorful high teas, cocktails and chocolate truffles.
Aria x Acid.Flwrs
Four-course menu starting at $190
Matt Moran’s dockside restaurant is collaborating with floral art studio Acid.Flwrs to undergo a vibrant botanical makeover during Vivid.
Acid.Flwrs founder Clare Mueller transforms fresh-cut flowers into psychedelic designs using a landmark etching technique that has earned her thousands of social media fans and seen her collaborate with fashion designers , sculptors and musicians. For the duration of the festival, Mueller will create a multi-faceted installation in the restaurant. The collaboration extends to the kitchen, with a limited-edition cocktail menu and visually spectacular chocolate truffles (pictured) from executive chef Tom Gorringe.
Wed-Thu 5.30pm-9.30pm; Fri-Sat 12pm-3pm and 5pm-9.30pm; 1 Macquarie Street, Sydney, 02 9240 2255, ariasydney.com.au/aria-x-acid-flwrs
Limited edition menu $59-89 per person
Diners keen to catch the harbor light show can enjoy an early dinner at Neil Perry’s Spice Temple restaurant in Sydney. The Chinese restaurant will open its main dining room from 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday during Vivid to showcase two limited-edition menus. The $59 bar banquet is for walk-ins only and includes crystal dumplings, lamb pancakes and spice-fried chicken wings with heavenly chilies. For those who prefer to plan ahead, the $89 set menu features a Hangzhou-style flathead; three-shot chicken with beer, chilli and soy; and tangerine marshmallows.
Tue-Sat, 5pm-6.30pm; 10 Bligh Street, Sydney, 02 8099 7088, www.picetemple.com.au
The long aisle dinner will feature monochromatic dishes. Photo: Supplied
Long Aisle Dinner Silvester’s x Three Bottle Man
Three-course menu $129 per person
The Bulletin Place aisle lights up for Vivid with a $129 pop-up dinner created by Marriott Silvester’s Restaurant Executive Chef Raphael Szurek and the team behind CBD wine bar, Three Bottle Man. Diners will be seated at long communal tables, surrounded by a garden of lights and (hopefully) bubbly conversation. The menu remains resolutely thematic, each dish sporting a unique colour. Although this is an outdoor event, the weather shouldn’t be a problem: blankets and outdoor heating are plentiful.
Thu-Sat 6pm (from Saturday 28 May); Three Bottle Man, 1 Bulletin Place, Sydney, 02 9259 7279, eventbrite.com
Twenty-one dinner cruise
$255 per person
Board the MV Coast Catamaran for a Vivid Show and having dinner. On two Wednesdays, the heated charter yacht will transport guests from Walsh Bay’s Ventuno restaurant to central Sydney Harbor to watch hundreds of color-changing lights pulse across the city. Upon returning to the restaurant, guests will be seated for a three-course Italian dinner with wine pairings and a view of Walsh Bay’s own facility, Ephemeral oceanic. This bubble-inspired light show features 150 illuminated spheres.
Wed 6pm-9.30pm, 1 and 8 June; 21 Hickson Road, Walsh Bay, 02 9247 4444, ventuno.com.au
Merivale Presents Press Play
Tickets for Merivale’s Vivid Sydney Inaugural Dinner sold out within days of release. If you missed the “Feast of the Senses”, don’t despair: there’s still a chance to experience some of the magic at Press Play. For two nights, this free event will take guests on a journey through Ivy’s two-level atrium, where they’ll experience light installations, soundscapes, live DJs and cutting-edge traveling performers. Groups of four or more who dine at MuMu, Bar Totti’s, Felix, Ash St. Cellar, Mr. Wong, Jimmy’s Falafel or Uccello after the show receive a complimentary set of signature cocktails (after 9:30 p.m.).
Tue-Wed 6pm-11.30pm, 7 and 8 June; Ivy, 330 George Street, Sydney, 02 9240 3000, vividsydney.com
Dishes from $14
On Darling Square, The flowering of tomorrow by light sculpture artist Gemma Ferguson will see hundreds of flowers illuminated along an 8 kilometer trail through Haymarket. For those who prefer to sit down, Auvers brings its Asian fusion cuisine to the bright promenade with a limited-edition menu and cocktail list. Highlights include the ceviche with Hokkaido scallops, yuzu and tangerine gel; vacuum-packed lamb fillet, fondant potatoes and red wine jus; and the “foggy Vivid florist”, a dessert with coconut cream cheese mousse, matcha sable (shortbread biscuit) and crispy orange sugar.
Shop 4/12 Nicolle Walk, Haymarket, 02 9188 2392, auverscafe.com.au
Specials from $18
Lotus dumpling masters have created a selection of special dishes, including bright red xiao long bao (soup dumplings) filled with Singapore crab and a “starry night” cocktail with butterfly pea infused vodka. Then head to the light show at Walugul Walk, where First Nations and emerging artists from Western Sydney have created a visual gallery reflecting community and diversity.
The Opera Bar presents Into The Blue
Settle down for a few drinks in the Opera Bar, where you’ll have front-row seats to the Paramount+ Night Flight, the largest light-up drone show ever seen in the Southern Hemisphere. The Harbor Bar has teamed up with Bombay Sapphire to create a series of Vivid-themed cocktails and snacks, including Sydney rock oysters with gazpacho; rainbow blondies with candied popcorn; and colorful raw vegetables with romesco and corn tortillas. Every night during Vivid there will be live music, a photobooth and free admission.
Daily after dark; Macquarie Street, Sydney, 02 8587 5900, operabar.com.au
A selection of Vivid-themed sweet and savory dishes await you at The Waiting Room. Photo: Supplied
Bright high tea at the waiting room
$85-$105 per person
The limited edition afternoon tea offers an escape from the hustle and bustle of the harbor promenade, without compromising the view. The waiting room overlooks a series of light installations, including the Wulugul promenade, and is within walking distance of the space-themed digital projection Celestial bodies. The Vivid tiered stand offers a vibrant selection of savory and sweet treats, including prawn rolls, scotch quail eggs and whipped hazelnut ganache with Frangelico jelly and salted caramel. Choose between tea or coffee, or amp up the sparkle with a glass of Piper-Heidsieck champagne.
Friday to Sunday from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.; The Waiting Room, Level 1, Crown Sydney, 1 Barangaroo Avenue, Sydney, 0288717171, crownhotels.com.au
The living experience of 6Head
$265 per person
Sydney Harbor steakhouse 6Head has partnered with SixthSense Agency and RedBalloon to create an immersive, multi-sensory dining experience for the festival. The “theatrical gastronomy” package includes a cocktail on arrival, a three-course menu and a two-hour unlimited drinks package. The indoor light show will unfold across the tablescape, illuminating the room as servers serve dishes such as seared Murray cod with charred corn, kombu butter and mussels; Mayura croup tartare and baked dark chocolate and malt tart.
Wed-Sun 6pm-8.15pm and 8.45pm-late; Bay 10 and 11, Campbell’s Stores, 7-27 Circular Quay West, The Rocks, 02 8629 8866, 6head.com.au