Following the announcement by chef Guillaume Brahimi that he would not be applying for tender of what is arguably the greatest hospitality venue in Australia, Bennelong Restaurant inside the sails of the Opera House, it has today been announced that Frank Van Haandel of the Van Haandel Group has been chosen as the preferred tenderer of the spot by the Sydney Opera House Trust, subsequent to a public tender process.
Van Haandel is well known in Melbourne for the St Kilda landmark Stokehouse, and Brisbane’s Stokehouse Q. Fittingly, the new offering at the House opening in May 2014, will be called Bennelong by Stokehouse. Chef Richard Ousby, who recently gained two hats for his work at Stokehouse Q, will be relocating in the new year from Queensland back to his hometown of Sydney to man the kitchen at Bennelong by Stokehouse.
In line with the Opera House’s recent push to grow its audience and consumer base to include a wider, more eclectic and younger audience, The Van Haandel team are planning on offering Sydney a more accessible dining experience than that put forward by French fine-diner Guillaume at Bennelong. The bottom floor of the restaurant will be a sophisticated dining space, while the upper floor will give way to a more laid-back dining experience. With plans on the horizon to open for breakfast on weekends, this move marks a vast change away from the previous model.