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Indigenous chef Mark Olive opens new restaurant at Sydney Opera House

Phoebe Blogg -

Whilst it's not uncommon for celebrity chefs to break away from the spotlight and launch their own venture, celebrated chef and proud Bundjalung man Mark Olive – otherwise known as The Black Olive – did so not with the intention of profit, but passion.

Fast forward to July 2023, and Olive has launched his own Indigenous-inspired restaurant, Midden by Mark Olive.

Located in Sydney's stunning Opera House, Midden is where culture and craft meet culinary creativity.

Fusing his indigenous Australian heritage, with seasonal produce and local delicacies, Olive has ensured Midden is a reflection of both his culture and favourite cuisine.

"Opening Midden by Mark Olive at the Sydney Opera House on Tubowgule, Gadigal country is a dream come true," he said.

"This is the most iconic building in the country and I couldn't be prouder to follow in the pioneering footsteps of leading Indigenous Australians."

Since opening to the public on July 4, Midden has welcomed a series of established foodies, socialites and celebrities into the space.

In addition to critics and foodies, the harbourside restaurant has featured in a variety of digital publications – not to mention a brief on-screen appearance on channel seven's popular travelling program, Sydney Weekender.

Serving up lunch and dinner, as well as a very unique native high-tea dining experience, has seen critics coin Midden as this year's restaurant to watch.

With the restaurant's menu featuring everything from Eucalyptus whipped butter to Quandong paste, smoked Kangaroo and Bush Honey, Olive has designed Midden's highly curated menu to touch on both his culture and trendy tastebuds.

"It's very adventurous and truly Australian!," Olive said.

"Packed with our country's native herbs and proteins, hence the menu has been highly received and a talking point for a lot of our patrons.

"Our diners can expect a variety of indigenous produce like Crocodile, Kangaroo, Emu and Wallaby Shanks."

Damper infused with native herbs, eucalyptus whipped butter. (Image: Yazzen Omar)

Aside from his appearances on Masterchef Australia, the esteemed chef is typically admired for his work across the SBS hit series, The Outback Chef.

Known as one of Olive's initial claims to fame, The Outback Chef was influential in informing and exposing viewers to Australia's natural ingredients.

When speaking with the down-to-earth television chef, it is evident Olive values his culture as much as his passion for cooking.

"I am so grateful to have found my passion," Olive told Style Up.

"As youngsters' food was a focal point in the household and watching my mother, godmother and aunts from Cabbage Tree Island and Casino, cook sparked my interest at a very young age."

Assisting Olive in both the kitchen and beyond is executive chef and friend, Damien Worthington.

With prior experience serving in the culinary team at QT hotels, as well as taking on the role of Executive Chef at two of Sydney's most successful restaurants — the Botanic House & Farm Cove Eatery and the infamous 'Crafted by Matt Moran' restaurant — Worthington brings a wealth of experience to the team.

"Over the last 12 months working with the team and Chef Damien Worthington to set the menu has been an amazing experience for all involved", Olive said.

Damien Worthington and Mark Olive out the front of Midden restaurant. (Image: Yazzen Omar)

Operated by Doltone Hospitality Group, Midden joins the Opera House's ever-growing list of popular bars and dining options dotted along the waterfront.

Cosying up against Bennelong, Opera Bar and House Canteen, has seen Midden restaurant thrive amongst its gourmet competitors.

"This location gives foodies and all patrons an experience in an iconic building which is also turning 50 this year!," Olive said.

"With its spectacular views! It truly is breathtaking and to enjoy a meal that is truly Australian has already made this a go-to destination very quickly.

"We can't wait for the future for Midden by Mark Olive."

Midden by Mark Olive is open for lunch and dinner Monday – Sunday, and is accessible via the western boardwalk beneath the Sydney Opera House.

The restaurant's signature high tea is available Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday. For more information, and booking enquires visit www.middensydney.com.au

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