Review: “Festival of Abundance” Has Kicked Off At The Star Sydney

Cool Sh*t, Play, Restaurants, Sydney / 24 January 2023

A celebration of culinary curiosities, opulent dining and art installations for the Lunar New Year.

Lunar New Year celebrations in Sydney attract around 1.5 million visitors alone! It’s arguably one of the biggest calendar events in our city with hundreds of activations across restaurants, bars, and entertainment venues. 2023 is the Year of the Rabbit and is considered one of the luckiest signs offering a symbol of peace longevity and prosperity. After visiting The Star to check out their Lunar New Year offering, we feel our hopes and wishes have indeed been granted!

Visitors to The Star will be spoilt for choice with a number of restaurants adding special Lunar New Year dishes to their menus. One of Sydney’s finest steakhouses, BLACK Bar & Grill, has added the “Auspicious” steamed hapuka with scallop dumpling, gai lan and soy ginger dressing, plus the “Wealth” king crab legs from the charcoal oven with XO sauce and shallot, to its already decadent menu.

Flying Fish prides itself on offering the very best from Australian and New Zealand waters. The restaurant will feature woodfired yabbies with saltbush and ginger, and steamed coral trout with bush tomato. Executive Chef Adam Hall notes the bright red colours of the dishes (red represents prosperity in Chinese culture). The yabby and coral trout will be served whole to reflect unity.

If you’ve been missing Golden Century (which sadly closed its doors in 2022), then consider dining at its younger sister – The Century. The Cantonese restaurant is offering “Spring” items to its menu (Lunar New Year is also known as the ‘Spring Festival’). Don’t miss out on trying the delicious wafer seafood roll or and the XO mayo lobster mantou roll.

Those who desire an opulent experience will do well to visit Sokyo and order the sashimi platter. The fine dining establishment will serve-up Australia’s most expensive sashimi platter. The $888 “Prosperity” lobster sashimi platter is packed with twelve kinds of fish, Toro bluefin tuna, sweet scampi, scallops, abalone, lobster with gold leaf and caviar. The luxurious platter also includes sweet succulent oysters with a yuzu ponzu (citrus-based sauce commonly used in Japanese cuisine) oyster vinaigrette.

Cucina Porto is mixing up its classic Italian menu, playing tribute to Lunar New Year with an “Auspicious” Lobster pizza with red tomato sauce, fresh oregano, confit lobster tail, spicy crumb, smoked trout roe and gold leaf. And for dessert, the “Prosperity Tray of Togetherness”, a large platter including matcha mandarin mousse cake, chocolate truffles, mini fruit mousse, almonds panforte, amaretti biscuits and mini cannoli. “Trays of Togetherness” are traditionally used to welcome visiting guests during Lunar New Year.

Start your evening at the Michael Reid Art Bar. It’s the ideal spot to meet, or you could finish your night, drink in hand, wandering through the gallery. For Lunar New Year, the gallery has partnered with Vermilion Gallery (based in Waterloo). Titled INK+ the gallery will showcase a range of emerging and established Chinese artists. The artwork focuses on Chinese ink painting and spans an array of art forms from calligraphy, sculpture to mixed media. The exhibition aims to provide an understanding of modern China and some of its creative contemporary minds. All artwork is available for purchase, with prices ranging from $650 to $95,000. INK+ will run until 12 February.

Looking for more entertainment? The Star will be running a free multi-sensory art experience. Aqualume takes place behind cascading curtains of water, the show is an interplay of light, water and digital art alongside breathtaking aerial choreography.

Inspired by Chang’e, the Chinese moon goddess, it tells the traditional Chinese myth of the Water Rabbit. Aqualume will be performed nightly. 

The Star “Festival of Abundance” finishes 4 February. 

Check out the full program of Lunar New Year offerings and events at The Star Sydney: