There’s a new business-savvy trend in Sydney dining – venues that try to do absolutely everything. A month after all-day venues Bacco and Rocker opened, there’s another all-encompassing venue: District Brasserie, which opens today in the CBD.
It’s the most ambitious of the lot. It has 200 seats; its own sandwich and pastry takeaway section from an in-house bakery run by Jason Hillier-Leggatt (ex-La Renaissance in Waterloo); a charcoal grill; and a full breakfast, lunch and dinner service designed by Mark Knox (BLACK, Public Dining Room). For drinks there’s draught Young Henrys, a 120-bottle wine list by freelance sommelier Ben Moechtar and a cocktail offering from Marco Faraone (ex-Hello Sailor). “We really want to capture that corporate market,” says owner John Vissaritis. “NYC was a big inspiration. We saw a lot of multi-facetted venues there. “Our aim is to be a Sydney institution. We aim to be here for 15 to 20 years or more.”
There's a takeaway-orientated cafe that sprawls across Chifley's (formerly Chifley Plaza) foyer. There you can find coffee from Single O; a trio of tartines; and a rotating selection of sandwiches, quiches and ready-to-go salads. As you move into the venue it becomes more formal. The staff calls you sir, the napkins are thick and soft and the tables and ready-made food display are replaced by distressed-brick walls, a granite bar, leather furniture and timber floors.
In the mornings, you’ll likely see corporate types meeting over OJs and a decadent croissant topped with smoked salmon, lobster and poached egg. Or an open baguette with maple bacon, scrambled eggs and fresh truffle. All the croissants, cakes and bread are made in-house and, even more impressively, with Australian organic flour.
Later on in the day the focus is on the charcoal grill. “We had it set up in my mother’s home for six months. Between myself, my brothers, my business partner Sam [Loutfi], and with a lot of help from Vic's and Haverick's meats, we cooked on it relentlessly while we couldn't access the venue,” says Vissaritis. They cooked an immense 800-gram Jacob’s Creek rib eye with beef-fat vinaigrette and thrice-cooked Sebago potatoes (best shared between two). And succulent lamb rump paired with charred eggplant puree, roast shallots, miso-braised eggplant and a dollop of yoghurt with mint oil. “When we're bedded in we'll be tricking-up the menu a little bit in the evenings,” says Vissaritis.
Chifley, 2 Chifley Square, Sydney
(02) 9230 0900