The team behind slick city restaurant The Charles Grand Brasserie will open a restaurant at The Langham hotel in April, while one of Sydney’s fastest growing restaurant stables, House Made Hospitality, will follow suit in spring, opening four venues at the historic Wentworth Hotel site in the CBD.
The mega deals signal an ongoing shift in strategy at the city’s upmarket hotels. Sydneysiders’ at times reluctant relationship with dining in hotel restaurants has spurred an uptick in drafting outside talent.
Last year the owners of Bentley Restaurant Group opened Brasserie 1930 at the new Capella Sydney hotel near Circular Quay, while Kiln at Ace Hotel and the Park Hyatt in The Rocks both recruited chef talent from outside the hotel world.
Justin Newton, director at House Made Hospitality, is keen to bring some of the “local engagement and community” his group has fostered at city restaurants Lana and Grana, and Promenade Bondi Beach, to the four venues headed into Sydney’s first five-star hotel, the iconic Wentworth site on Phillip Street.
The new ventures will be part of a $60-million facelift of the building, which has attracted the jet set and hosted celebrities, politicians and royalty for more than half a century.
House Made will open a seafood grill in the lobby of the historic 1960s hotel, and up on the prized horseshoe terrace – once a hot Sydney venue in the 1970s and 1980s – there’ll be a rooftop bar that holds 250 people, with a French-Vietnamese restaurant behind it. The fourth venue, a 90-seat bar area, will offer a range of Australian whiskies and an antique spirits collection.
“A glass and copper roof is being built [over some of the terrace],” Newton says.
While arrangements between hotels and restaurant groups vary, from consultancy to fee-based and profit-share, Newton explains House Made has struck its deal direct with the landlord to operate the venues. House Made will operate its new restaurants and bars alongside the hotel’s operator, Sofitel.
Over in Millers Point at The Langham, the incoming restaurant from Etymon Projects (the team behind The Charles Grand Brasserie in the city and Loulou Bistro at Lavender Bay), is yet to decide on a name ahead of its April launch, but Etymon’s director of culinary, Sebastien Lutaud, explains it will be inspired by the “relaxed and attentive service” of the great hotel restaurants of Europe.
“The centre of the restaurant will feature a striking seafood bar with bar stools to sit with a glass of wine and enjoy a deliciously fresh crab omelette made in front of you,” Lutaud says.
“We see an incredible amount of opportunity in hotel dining and bars,” says Etymon Projects chief executive Lisa Hobbs.
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