By Vanessa Cavasinni, editor Australian Hotelier

Solotel has announced that its much anticipated Barangaroo House complex will open in December.

The three-storey venue, with ground floor casual dining and public bar, first floor restaurant and second floor rooftop bar is set to open at the end of the year.

“This project has been over three years in the making and we are thrilled it’s nearing completion. I’m truly excited to share this experience with the world,” stated Bruce Solomon, Solotel’s director.

According to Justine Baker, COO of the group, Barangaroo House will add another dimension to an already outstanding new dining and entertainment precinct.

“It’s pretty exceptional. The calibre of operators there is cherry picked from the best of Sydney, and what it’s lacking at the moment is a late-night bar, which we’re going to be able to deliver. What we’ve noticed is that after 10pm it’s a bit quieter in the area and we believe we’ll be able to pull that later crowd as well.”

Also announced is the appointment of Cory Campbell (ex-Noma and Vue de Monde) as heading up the venue’s kitchens alongside Matt Moran.

“For two years, I’ve scoured the globe looking for the chef to lead Barangaroo House. It was crucial to appoint a chef who perfectly aligned with our plans for the venue and ultimately, a chef from our own shores was the perfect fit. After my first conversation with Cory, I knew he was right,” stated Moran.

“We share the same philosophy of a strong sense of place and he brings a wealth of experience from cooking in some of the world’s best kitchens.”

Campbell, who spent four years at Noma in Copenhagen and six years leading the team at Melbourne’s Vue de Monde, has spent the last month researching the concept of Sydney and it’s culinary cuisine, and drilling down into the history of the local Barangaroo area. In the past, local Indigenous peoples caught a lot of kingfish in the area, so expect to see kingfish on the menu in some form.

“I’m incredibly excited to join Matt and Solotel at Barangaroo House to oversee the three kitchens,” said Campbell. “For me this is a huge opportunity to bring to life an idea unlike anything Australia has seen before.”

Barangaroo House Recruitment drive

In the next couple of days Solotel will launch a recruitment drive, looking to employ 120 people to staff the 850-pax capacity venue. The next two big recruits are to be the restaurant and bars managers to drive the service of the restaurant and the beverage narrative throughout the venue. All personnel positions will have to be filled, from kitchen and back-of-house, to cocktail attendants and general bar staff. It’s a mammoth task in a time when TSS visas are a real issue for the hospitality industry in general, and has required Solotel to look elsewhere for potential staff.

“We have to change the way that we do long-term sustainability of our employment in the kitchens. We haven’t come up with a solution yet. It’s really difficult to be working in such a grey area where one day you can offer a couple of hundred people within our organisation a stable career and then the next day you don’t know whether they’ll be working for you in the next nine months,” explains Baker.

“It certainly is more challenging, and to recruit a really big restaurant team based on the Sydney workforce is almost impossible, so we’re also going to different capital cities in Australia to see whether we can recruit people to move to Sydney as well.”

Baker is upbeat about the task at hand though, and is pleased to see the project is coming to fruition.

“It’s all coming together. It’s like a big jigsaw puzzle – one piece at a time.”

Vanessa Cavasinni

Vanessa Cavasinni is the managing editor of Australian Hotelier and Club Management, trade publications for the pub and club sectors respectively. Vanessa has been at the helm of Australian Hotelier since...

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