Home' Australian Hotelier : AH APRIL 2016 Contents 26 | APRIL 2016 AUSTRALIAN HOTELIER
DESIGN & BUILD
Already owning two adjacent shopfronts on Oxford Street in
Paddington, when the site of the old Paddington Inn went up
for sale, Merivale's CEO Justin Hemmes knew he had to jump
at the chance to own the pub.
"I've always had the intention to redevelop those [two] sites into a food
and beverage offering, and then when this pub came up for sale I thought it
was a great opportunity to create some more excitement for the area."
The Paddington end of Oxford Street has struggled in recent years, and
Hemmes -- who has fond memories of a more bustling time in the area's
history -- would like to revive the hospitality scene in the area.
"Choice creates a nice little hub of activity and excitement. Oxford
Street up that end has been really struggling for some time. There are a lot
of empty shops, so I felt that if we reactivated some of these shops then
more people will come on board and promote growth in the area again."
The concept for The Paddington (having dropped the Arms), was
nutted out by Merivale's key design team of Justin and his sister Bettina,
Kelvin Ho and Emilie Delalande of Akin Creative, and stylist Amanda
Talbot. The plan for the pub was an open kitchen and a relaxed
atmosphere, perfect for the locals.
This concept gained more clarity after the services of noted chef
Ben Greeno -- having worked at internationally-acclaimed restaurants
Momofuko Seiobo, Sat Bains and Noma -- came on board with a vision of
the kind of food he wanted to create. He put together a rotisserie-led menu
that focused on simple dishes made up of good produce. With rotisseries to
be the main focus of the kitchen, it soon became the focal point of the pub.
YOU SPIN ME RIGHT ROUND
Having spent years in the world of fine dining, Greeno wanted to do
something that proved that simple fare with great produce could be of
the same quality and as tasty as any more complicated dishes. He kept
coming back to the idea of using a rotisserie to cook the majority of the
menu, and so two specially-imported, custom-made French rotisseries
were installed into the ground floor kitchen of the pub. Amazingly,
Greeno had never cooked on rotisseries before, and spent weeks
perfecting the cooking process, now to great acclaim.
"It's just something really interesting to cook with. It's a strange
machine. It takes a lot of getting used to. It probably took a good three or
four weeks before we were really happy with what we were turning out,
but we're really happy now. They're really cool," states Greeno.
While whole roasted chicken is the most popular dish to eat from the
rotisserie -- and many can be seen rotating away at any one time -- what
is most astonishing is the rotisseries' versatility. Greeno and his team
also cook whole fish, sirloin, halves of lamb and vegetables in the ovens.
They've even cooked duck on them, and are always looking to try out
And with their large copper hood, the rotisseries indeed catch the eye, as
Greeno has noticed: "People walk in and head back towards the kitchen
and then turn right to go up the stairs. I would say eight times out of ten,
people get halfway up the stairs then stop as they register what they've just
seen, and turn around to look at the kitchen. It's pretty impressive."
MAKE YOUR WAY THROUGH
From the street, The Paddington looks like a small venue, but upon
entering and moving to the back of the building, it opens up to a much
larger space. This feeling of venturing into the pub helped shape the
design concept of creating a journey throughout, where patrons can
discover different spaces and experiences.
Kelvin Ho of Akin Creative, explains how he sees the journey through
The Paddington: "It's initially quite bright and light when you enter from
the street, then you move through the more moody areas and you end up
at the kitchen and bar on the ground floor, and there are threads that tie
all these areas together. Then there's the upper level, and that's slightly
more sophisticated, more comfortable, more dining focused, and then you
terminate at the cocktail bar. The brief for that was to make it feel a little
bit unexpected and a little bit more polished than the rest of the venue, so
it's a nice surprise for the people who made the journey through the space."
What makes this an interesting concept is that it encourages patrons to
make several trips to the venue to discover new things each time without
even factoring in wanting to try new dishes and beverages. Ho agrees: "It's
really layered and interesting, so you don't absorb everything the first time,
but after three or four visits you start to notice all of the detailing, materials
and all the different aspects that are in there."
Simple and stylish
WHEN MERIVALE PURCHASED THE OLD PADDINGTON INN, JUSTIN HEMMES HAD PLANS TO REVITALISE THE
FLOUNDERING END OF THE ONCE LIVELY OXFORD STREET IN SYDNEY. WITH THE CASUAL, ROTISSERIE-FOCUSED
MENU AND REFINED LOOK OF THE PADDINGTON, HE'S TAKEN BIG STEPS TO DO JUST THAT.
room at The
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