Choosing to close a restaurant that is seemingly in great condition might seem unusual, but co-owner and chef of Bentley Restaurant & Bar Brent Savage says it was needed.
“There’s never a good time to shut a restaurant,” he says, “but we really wanted to refresh the room and upgrade the bar. The timing coincided with some necessary maintenance in the kitchen.”
Bentley is known for its inventive food and infallible wine list, and while the fundamental personality of the menu hasn’t changed, the food offering is very different now.
“It was a huge undertaking, but we strongly believe that it’s important to keep evolving. The biggest change is our lunch offering. We now have a fixed-price two- and three-course menu at $65 and $75 respectively. We’ve also changed the format of our tasting menu to incorporate shared-style dishes.”
Skull Island prawns are served with guanciale (pork jowl), Japanese Koshihikari rice (premium rice from Japan) and sea herbs, while watermelon radishes are dressed with curd made of camel’s milk.
“My new favourite dish is the blacklip abalone with hen of the woods mushroom and roast-chicken mayonnaise,” Savage says. “Abalone has a unique flavour that is complemented really well by the chicken mayonnaise. It's a luxury dish that our customers wouldn't see every day.”
The updated wine list includes a broader by-the-glass selection, as well as a few older vintages. “We have added a lot of stock that we have been cellaring for some time,” says co-owner and sommelier Nick Hildebrand.
There are more options, too, for those looking for something special. “We now have several premium and rare wines on offer by the glass, including rare wines from Jean Foillard, Francois Ganevat and Domaine L’Anglore.”
This isn’t the first time Savage and Hildebrand have reopened Bentley – in fact it’s the venue’s fourth incarnation – but, Savage explains, it’s all part of growing as a venue and as restaurateurs. “Overall we are trying to up the ante and better our product,” says Savage. “Bentley is a much better restaurant with these changes.”
Bentley Restaurant & Bar
27 O’Connell Street, Sydney
Mon to Fri 12pm–3pm, 5pm–10pm
Mon to Fri 12pm–10pm