New York’s loss is Sydney’s gain. Belgian chef David Vandenabeele has been enticed from the Big Apple’s Langham Hotel to head up the 70-seater Solander Dining at West Hotel, which has just opened on Sussex Street.

Known for his signature “chicken tea”, a chicken consommé he serves in a teapot that had New Yorkers queuing up in 2014, Vanderbeele says he’s excited about becoming a part of the community and supporting local producers. “I am classic French trained and have fine-tuned my skills working around the globe and experiencing different cultures and cooking technics,” he says.

Named for Daniel Solander, the Swedish botanist famous for documenting Australian native flora, diners can expect dishes focused on local ingredients. Beignets will be stuffed with Hunter Valley snails, black garlic and witlof; venison from Mandagery Creek will be served with baby beets and a goat’s cheese risotto; and salmon cooked sous vide will come with garden peas, fondant potato and lemon-myrtle yoghurt.

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West Hotel has 182 rooms and is named for its location in the emerging western corridor of Sydney between Sydney Harbour and the CBD, near Barangaroo. It is part of Hilton’s Curio Collection, which is in keeping with global hotel trends in that it’s about smaller, boutique-style accommodation rather than oversized cookie-cutter developments.

Australian architecture and interiors firm Woods Bagot was recruited to design the hotel and they have created a polished-yet-edgy Australian urban aesthetic: natural stone floors, sculptural lighting features, custom-made artworks and a central open-air atrium that brings garden foliage into the middle of the building.

As well as Solander there’s the all-day Dining Room, where locally sourced ingredients will be used to create a menu of sustainable, seasonal dishes drawing from both local and international influences.

The hotel opening represents the first fresh build for a CBD hotel in more than 15 years.

Solander Dining

65 Sussex Street, Sydney
(02) 9195 6960