Things have changed at The Centennial Hotel in Woollahra, including the name. Now known as Hotel Centennial, the subtle but strategic tweak indicates that the establishment has changed beyond a mere facelift.
Indeed the million dollar refurbishment by award-winning Sydney design group Luchetti Krelle has transformed the former ultra-modern gastropub into an elegant and homely venue filled with custom made furniture, antiques and contemporary photography.
The hotel retains a large restaurant at the rear, plus two bars and a lounge while an open kitchen with a wood-fired oven resides in the centre of the layout. However, The High Table is the new kid on the block and its recent unveiling is sure to attract both well heeled locals and foodies from much further afield.
The High Table is Hotel Centennial's new dining concept and is situated on the Oxford Street side of the hotel in what was formerly the front bar. This location provides views to Centennial Park while the former main entrance now serves as a private front door and lobby allowing guests to bypass the busy main restaurant and bar and head straight into the homely lounge.
Wood-panelled walls, sumptuous leather armchairs and soft lighting combine to create a stately yet relaxed ambiance while the showpiece of the room is unmistakably the High Table itself, a dramatic nine metre slab of marble-topped oak designed to seat thirty people on high leather bar stools for shared dining of produce-driven comfort food.
With the creation of such an enticing and elegant dining space it would be a crime if the food wasn't up to the same high standards. Fortunately Hotel Centennial has covered that base by bringing in acclaimed ex-Becasse owner Justin North as executive chef. From Monday to Wednesday North and his team produce a daily dish that all diners enjoy together. On Mondays the dishes are based on a theme of meat and three veg, such as daube of beef with potato puree, roast carrots and mushrooms, whilst on Wednesdays the chefs are challenged to create a menu based on requests from the guests e.g. sugar free.
We were delighted to experience The High Table and its fine fare during its first week of opening, at a pop-up dinner hosted by lifestyle blog Eat Read Love and styled by Lisa Madigan. Catching up with old friends and making new ones over sharing plates of 5 hour slow cooked lamb shoulder and fine wine was certainly an indication of how much fun The High Table could be for an intimate wedding reception, while the lounge room setting amplified the feel of a sophisticated dinner party.
The High Table definitely isn't a conventional space for a wedding reception, but it's wonderful for a gathering of close friends and family and would perfectly suit a long, lazy afternoon or evening of celebrating in style.
All images courtesy of Photography By Nadean.