The opulent Grand Central Coffee Palace on Clarence Street, in Sydney’s CBD, was built in 1889. It was converted into the Hotel Arcadia in 1929, and the lavish building stood there until it was torn down in the 1960s and replaced with a nondescript office building.
Now, that office building has also been ripped down, and from its foundations has risen Barrack Place. Sure, it’s another office building, but its 23-storey brick facade, co-working spaces and ground-level laneway running through to Kent Street sets it apart from the glass-and-steel skyscrapers that surround it. That laneway is Sydney’s newest food hub.
“It’s a place to relax for a long lunch or a quality grab-and go experience, supported by first-class amenities and services such as Workclub [office space] and [men’s barber] Barber & Co,” Mark Tait, group executive and head of commercial development at Investa, which oversaw the development, told Broadsheet.
Bar Pho, which started out at Bondi Markets and commands lines for its north Vietnam-meets-south-Vietnam version of the noodle soup, has opened its first bricks-and-mortar outlet. There's also rice paper rolls and banh mi on the menu.
Head to Mo’st for what’s been deemed the world’s oldest sandwich; it’s said to date back 2300 years to China’s Zhou Dynasty. Rou Jia Mo loosely translates as “meat sandwich” and is a street-food originating from Shaanzi Province in China’s north-west. At Mo’st it’s available with traditional pork, as well as beef meatballs with chips, grilled cumin lamb, and Hainan-style chicken breast. In China, the meat is stewed for several hours in a heavily spiced soup – here 20 spices are used. The meat is stuffed into mo, a traditional Chinese flatbread.
There’ll be some newbies, too. St Dreux Coffee Roasters will serve coffee (including a nitro version), house-made cakes and stuffed croissants (it supplies the beans for pastel-pink Avalon eatery Sunset Diner). The former Campos Coffee director, Rafael Bartkowski, and the former head of coffee at Sonoma, Ernest Igual, will run it.
Other dining destinations that have not yet opened are Billy Blargo and Firegrill. Billy Blargo will serve food and coffee and is slated for April.
Firegrill will be a 300-seat restaurant headed by American chef George Francisco, who has previously cooked at Wildfire (once in The Rock’s Overseas Passenger Terminal; it closed down in 2014) and Jonah’s. Sommelier John Clancy (ex-Guillaume and Quay) will choose the wines, and Toby Hiscox (Kittyhawk) will be masterminding the drinks list. It’s owned by Ian Dresner, who co-founded Rebel Sport.
Colourful art installations by Adelaide-based artist Amy Joy Watson are suspended above diners like helium balloons.
“We wanted an Australian artist to create a bright, vibrant art installation that supported playful and intriguing experiences,” says Tait.
Barrack Place is open now.