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Two top-flight chefs are taking the reins at the Westpac OpenAir Cinema this year

Matty Hirsch

The 16-year-old outdoor cinema experience at Mrs Macquaries Point, formerly known as St George OpenAir Cinema, not only has a new sponsor in 2020. Two of the country’s best chefs will also be taking charge of the eats. Clayton Wells, the man behind Automata and A1 Canteen, and James Viles of Biota in the Southern Highlands will both be bringing the best of their respective restaurants and a host of new dishes to the table for moviegoers overlooking Sydney Harbour this summer.

Viles, who takes a hyper-seasonal approach at his acclaimed Bowral restaurant, will be in charge of the à la carte dining space – the Lounge by James Viles – where diners can expect snacks like Appellation oysters with finger lime, cured pork jowl with fried bread and taramasalata with garden radishes. From there, it’s a choice of two or three courses, with options such as smoked beef tartare, straciatella with burnt peach and mustard oil or river trout dressed in lemon aspen butter and finished with smoked roe. These all come with the comforts of table service and premium grandstand seating, of course. On selected nights, a limited number of $30 upgrades to the Lounge will be released to general admission ticketholders via Ticketmaster.

While the public restaurant keeps things decidedly more casual, A1 Canteen’s sandwiches are some of the most sought-after in the city and Wells will feature hits like his chicken Caesar sanga and spiced cream cheese and veggie-packed bagel on his extensive grab-and-go menu. The all-day Chippo eatery’s pastas and build-your-own protein and salad mains (try the epic slow-roasted lamb shoulder) will also be available if you fancy something a little more substantial.

The 2020 program features more than a dozen premiere and preview screenings, including Bombshell, Guy Ritchie’s The Gentlemen and Greta Gerwig’s spin on Little Women. If you’re doubling down on tickets, know that both chefs will be overhauling their menus on February 5 for the second half of the season, so there’s no need to sweat about eating the same thing twice.

Westpac OpenAir Cinema runs from January 9, 2020 through to February 21, 2020. For more information, the full line-up and ticket purchases, click here.

Keen for more alfresco movie sessions this summer? Check out our picks for Sydney's best outdoor cinemas.

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