The Merivale juggernaut continues its Sydney takeover with the opening of Hotel Centennial in Woollahra. Executive chef Ben Greeno is presiding over the kitchen.
Greeno joined the Merivale crew in 2015 after more than three years at the helm of David Chang’s multi-hatted masterpiece Momofuko Siebo. He’s executive chef at nearby The Paddington as well as the man behind the rotisserie at the group’s first takeaway joint, The Chicken Shop, just next door.
He’s teamed up with Danielle Alvarez of sister restaurant Fred’s to create the menu. “I’ve worked with Danielle for the past few years but it’s the first time we’ve actually collaborated and worked together on a menu, so it’s something completely new for Merivale,” Greeno says. “Danielle has a really Californian way of looking at things and is very produce-driven; she’s had a massive impact on the menu.”
In the kitchen, Greeno will be cooking alongside head chef James Evangelinos, who’s back from a stint alongside Matt Lambert at Michelin-starred (and New Zealand-themed) The Musket Room in New York.
Greeno thinks the menu is a step up from what you’ll find at The Paddington, though it has the same sense of lightness and seasonal focus. It’s a classic nod to southern Europe with a Mediterranean sensibility – “It’s what you’d like to make at home, but rather go out for.”
Think woodfired flatbreads, classic pasta dishes and simple salads. There will be lots of seafood: woodfired-oven squid with aioli and cherry tomatoes; clams, fennel, chilli, roast bread and rouille; and grilled flounder with seaweed salsa verde. There’s also whole-roasted chicken and Rangers Valley cote de boeuf.
“I’m really excited for the smoked trout dish with beetroot and cucumber,” says Greeno. “It’s quite a Scandinavian feeling and really tasty.” He also recommends an “amazing” chicken dish with a summery panzanella salad.
And if you’ve still got room for dessert, there’s a spin on the pub’s signature Centennial waffles served with banana-caramel sauce and whipped cream.
88 Oxford Street Woollahra
Mon to Fri 12pm–12am