It’s not easy taking on a hotel that’s been an Eastern Suburbs landmark for well over a century. But Warren Livingstone, owner of the Charing Cross Hotel has breathed new life into the venue, transforming it into a bright and bustling spot for locals and beachgoers.
With its expansive, light-filled interior, glass skylight and touches of sea blue, the new space has a contemporary, coastal feel. Light wooden tables are surrounded by mismatched wicker chairs and are topped with a rustic arrangement of ceramic tableware. One half of the venue has been transformed into a stylish 60-seat dining room, while the other has been left open as a public bar. Adjoining the two is the hotel’s impressive, marble-topped, corrugated American oak bar, where smaller groups can pull up a chair for a light bite and a cocktail. The breezy courtyard area out the back is an inviting spot for afternoon drinks. Complementing the space is a new menu from head chef, Matt Kemp, formerly of Balzac and Montpellier Eating House. “The inspiration behind the menu is one of approachability,” says Kemp, “The menu is simple and honest, using flavours that naturally go together.”
On the pub menu you’ll find, “all the staples with a few extras,” says Kemp. There’s burgers and pizza alongside some of the chef’s favourites, including a roast chicken dinner pie and house-made baked beans with smoked pork ribs.
“With the dining room we wanted to show off a bit more,” Kemp says with a smile. The more refined menu features a range of dishes inspired by the chef’s European heritage, balanced with the freshness of locally sourced fish and seafood dishes. Among the chef’s top picks are the crisp pig’s head croquettes, the whole braised lamb shoulder, the albacore tuna and pickled fennel salad and, to finish, a hot Snickers pudding with peanut fudge ice-cream. The dining room also features a range of shared feast options for larger groups, and a homey Sunday night roast menu.
Charing Cross Hotel
81 Carrington Road, Waverley
(02) 9389 3093
Mon to Thu 10am–midnight
Fri to Sat 10am–2am