Not content with occupying arguably the second-best position on the harbour, chef Peter Gilmore of The Fink Group’s [Quay] restaurant will be moving into the top spot, too. Gilmore will be taking over the Bennelong space, which has been empty since Guillaume Brahimi moved out last December and the Van Haandel group encountered difficulties and had to pull out of its bid to take it over.
“[The most exciting thing] for me is the absolute beauty of the room and architecture, and the honour of representing Australian cuisine in the most iconic building of Australia,” Gimore says.
The space will be split into different dining experiences, including a fine-dining restaurant in the lower space, which will be “a little less technically driven, a little simpler. But still striving for excellence and celebrating the uniqueness of Australian produce,” he says. A more relaxed restaurant and bar for the theatre crowds at the top, and a section in the middle serving lighter options, “Will be more natural, with raw food like beautiful oyster, cured meats and organic vegetable salads. It’ll be light and accessible; so you can come in and have a plate of oysters and a glass of champagne as a lovely little snack before the opera,” says Gilmore.
Refurbishments will begin in January (including a completely new kitchen) and the restaurant is slated to open in June with current general manager of Quay, Kylie Ball, in the same role at Bennelong.
The restaurant will be open seven days a week for dinner, lunch Friday to Sunday and brunch on Sunday.