Wildfire Restaurant at Sydney’s Overseas Passenger Terminal

A recent farewell for a colleague and friend who is moving overseas gave me an opportunity to dine at Wildfire for the first time. Naturally, I jumped at the chance.

Opened in 2002 and situated in Sydney’s Overseas Passenger Terminal, Wildfire takes advantage of the rich history of Sydney’s Rocks district. The view is truly stunning; I could have looked out on the Opera House and Harbour all night and not bothered with dinner. The only thing that detracts from this world famous view is the infamous ‘toaster’ (known formally as Opera Quays) sitting like an ill-formed lump to the right of the Opera House. When you stroll the very pleasant shops and eateries of Opera Quays you really don’t get a sense of just how ugly it is. Wildfire gives a perfect perspective to do that, and to see, like all architectural monstrosities, how badly it has aged in just 10 years.

You enter Wildfire from the rear, which is flat entry. There’s a curb ramp just to the left of the entry, so access from the street or parking spaces is simple. It’s also a simple, and very pleasant, wheel around from Circular Quay Station (also accessible) if you choose to come by train.

Inside Wildfire

The interior of Wildfire is quite stunning. The main dining room is large and luxurious, with high ceilings, adorned with chandeliers. As a large group, we were seated at a long table, and it was this table that first impressed me. It was high enough for me to get under in my powerchair. For once I didn’t need to eat dinner on my lap while seated a metre out from the table. While I’m sure this is just a happy coincidence rather than design, it’s no coincidence that there’s also plenty of circulation space. The place is built on a grand scale and that works for me.

The accessible bathroom is also well designed and very functional. Most importantly, it’s easy to get to, located just to the right of the main entry. There are few things more irritating in a restaurant than needing to ask multiple tables of diners to move to allow you to get your wheelchair through to visit the bathroom. Once there, the door opens inwards, the rails are positioned well, and there’s good circulation space. Everything is within reach and functional. My only gripe was that the door had one of those clever ‘butterfly’ locks that (for me at least) never work.

The menu is contemporary Australian, and consists mostly of grills, wood-fired meats and rotisseries. For this vegetarian, that was slightly confronting. Our host had (in advance) chosen a Brazilian-inspired ‘Churrasco’ menu featuring a selection of spit-roasted seafood and meats. However, the three of us in the group who were vegetarian were well catered for with an excellent Mushroom Risotto and several rounds of tasty vegetarian starters. Dessert was to die for, with very traditional European selections of chocolate mousse, tiramisu, crème brulee and more.  

Wildfire presents a fine dining experience of culinary and service excellence, a wonderful wine list and acute attention to service detail – all packaged in a magnificent location and venue with great access. It’s a perfect choice for those times you want to show off the best of Sydney to your visitors.

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