They only recently opened their fifth venue, Brasserie 1930, but Brent Savage and Nick Hildebrandt will soon add another restaurant to their lauded clutch of Sydney diners – Asian-influenced King Clarence, which is due to begin service in the CBD in October.
At the Bentley Restaurant Group’s new 100-seater, a custom barbeque and grill will take centre stage in the kitchen, and there will also be dedicated stations for wok-fried dishes and dumplings, while a live fish tank will pay homage to those seen across Chinatown.
Chinese, Korean and Japanese flavours and dishes will all get a look-in on the menu, grounded in the meticulous attention to detail and razor-sharp execution the group is known for.
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The idea for an Asian-influenced restaurant has been gently simmering between Savage and Hildebrandt, the award-winning chef and sommelier respectively, for a few years. Their previous restaurants have all leaned European in style and cuisine.
“We're going to apply our ethos and philosophy using Asian flavours,” Savage tells Broadsheet. “We have an amazing team surrounding us and it’s a project we’re really looking forward to getting up and running, finally.”
The pair wants King Clarence to be “fun, loud, and busy”.
The menu is not yet finalised, but Savage hints at the foundations. “It’s more about those umami or fermented flavours. If we’re talking about roasted meats, we’re marinating those first in miso or red bean – there’ll be the things you’re familiar with that give that depth of flavour, from the producers we already use,” he says.
On the drinks side, Hildebrandt and his team will deliver a short, sharp cocktail list, crisp beers and food-friendly wine. A 40-strong by-the-glass offering, along with an expansive internationally powered wine list, will bring both classic and more innovative drops to the mix. There’ll also be a focus on wines suited to Asian plates – “lots of Riesling,” Hildebrandt says – as well as special bottles from the Bentley Wine Vault.
Long-time collaborator Pascale Gomes-McNabb has been tapped to do the interiors, which the group describes as “industrial yet comfortable” and which will match the sophistication seen in the rest of the group’s stable, including Monopole, Yellow, Bentley Restaurant and Bar, Cirrus and its latest, Brasserie 1930.
“[Pascale] is really great at creating places with a great feel and energy,” Savage says. “The site itself is an old bank, and when we stripped it back there was a lot of concrete. We came in adding layers of comfort and a lot of visual design.
“We want [King Clarence] to be about the atmosphere. It’s a place you can go before you head out, it’s one stop before the club.”
King Clarence is due to open at 171 Clarence Street, Sydney, in October.