Show and a (complete) meal

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DECEMBER is Christmas at Teatro Vivaldi and the place is decorated from top to bottom, with “tis-the-season” baubles mixed in with a collection of fabulous theatre memorabilia from the West End, Broadway and further afield.

It all makes sense given Teatro Vivaldi’s passion for combining dinner and live entertainment – including cabaret and opera – throughout the year at its unique ANU Arts Centre location.

We settled in to a packed house to watch “Broadway Bard”, young jazz bandleader and singer Julian Kuo and lyricist Melvyn Morrow combining some of Broadway’s most famous tunes with some of Shakespeare’s most famous work. It lived up to its promise to be lively, fun and “Shakespeare with none of the boring bits”.

The Teatro Vivaldi evening shows are complete with entrees, mains and dessert (served at interval).

The orange, fennel, mint and almond salad (gluten free/vegetarian) was a light and fresh start, making me feel very healthy indeed. The platter of poached prawns, smoked salmon, calamari and more was a perfect option for those who worship seafood. And, for those who want a real kick-start to a meal, the grilled Spanish chorizo packed a punch with spice and married well with sauerkraut and rocket salad.

The dish’s chilli panna cotta was a creative touch.

Four mains were on the menu, with something for everyone. After a light start, I went for a heartier main of herb-marinated sirloin served on top of fantastic roasted potatoes (which I had to become protective of once one of my friends discovered them and couldn’t resist sharing) with a rich, deep Shiraz and peppercorn jus.

The sesame-seed-coated salmon fillet was slightly overdone, but sat well with sweet potato mash and broccolini served with an interesting coriander, chilli and lemon butter sauce. The roasted vegetable stack looked lovely on the plate with minted-pea risotto. It is a dish for those who do not mind messing around with garlic.

We all loved the decadent desserts, including – to celebrate the season – Christmas plum pudding with brandy custard and fresh whipped cream and a smooth-as-silk eggnog panna cotta with redcurrant coulis and nutmeg with white chocolate sauce (gluten free).

Still on for December at Teatro Vivaldi is “Divine Diva”, Wayne Rogers dinner and cabaret; a “White Christmas” Eve Dinner and, to hail in the New Year a “Las Vegas Extravaganza” (dinner and party).

Teatro Vivaldi is also open at lunch. ANU Arts Centre. Call 6257 2718.

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Wendy Johnson
Wendy Johnson: Food reviewer for Canberra CityNews magazine since 2004, covering stories for true foodies to digest.

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