The Strand Hotel
For 99 years The Strand Hotel sat on the corner of William and Crown streets in Darlinghurst, trading in hostel-style accommodation and no-frills pub grub. These days it’s under the stewardship of Public Hospitality (the Norfolk, El Primo Sanchez, the Lady Hampshire), who have turned the corner site into the handsome venue and boutique accommodation it was always meant to be.
The downstairs front bar, where visitors once sunk schooners of Carlton Draught, is now home to a bistro turning out French-inspired dishes. Dark wood-panelled walls and bentwood chairs are offset by the sunshine flooding from floor-to-ceiling bi-fold doors that can be flung open onto William Street.
The menu offers a fuss-free take on contemporary French dining – kick off with bumps of Beluga caviar, steak tartare, or pissaladiere (like a French-style pizza) topped with caramelised onion, Ortiz anchovies and olives). Heftier options include steak frites, roasted duck breast with grilled radicchio and a Wagyu burger with gruyere.
French and Australian wines sit alongside a range of aperitifs and beers, while Japanese, Irish and Scottish whiskies round out the drinks list. But stuffy bistro this is not – on weekends, DJs pump tunes to keep the buzz up as guests dine.
The jewel in the venue’s crown, however, is the sunny rooftop bar. It has a more casual menu of food and drinks, served at communal tables, with DJs hitting the decks as night falls.
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