Acclaimed operator Bruce Solomon has officially furthered his partnership with award-winning chef Matt Moran, beginning with the joint acquisition of The Australian Hotel.
The Solomon-Moran relationship is almost as old as Bruce Solomon’s Solotel, which he began in 1986 by adding The Paddington Inn to his real estate portfolio. It became what was likely Sydney’s first real ‘gastro’ pub, and launched the interaction with Moran, who has become a renowned artisan chef and TV personality.
Beginning in July, the pair will operate their collective venues through a joint venture under the Solotel name, incorporating Solomon’s 20 venues in Sydney and Brisbane with Moran’s six restaurant venues* including the two-hatted ARIA Sydney.
Late 2015 joint venture partners Frasers Property Australia and Sekisui House Australia offered up The Australian Hotel** – fronting their monstrous Central Park development of the old Carlton & United brewery site (pictured) that will produce a home for 5,000 new residents.
A star-studded international EOI campaign followed through Ray White, drawing a number of local, interstate and international hospitality groups showing “depth of both interest and talent” rarely seen.
“World class developments, and precincts, not surprisingly attract world class operators,” relayed Ray White Hotel Asia-Pacific director, Andrew Jolliffe.
“Both Bruce and Matt have enjoyed considerable success in both Sydney and Brisbane through their ARIA, Chiswick and Opera Bar businesses to name but a few, and we anticipate their hospitality prowess will again deliver the dynamic Chippendale area with another flagship drawcard upon completion of their Australian Hotel project.”
The partnership has already revealed that following the new financial year’s new model, The Paddington Inn – celebrating its 30th anniversary in Solotel – will reopen with a new restaurant and all-new front bar.
Also this winter, Solotel’s Edinburgh Castle Hotel on Pitt Street will reveal a substantial renovation set to “showcase all that is great about the classic Sydney heritage pub”.
The Australian Hotel is not slated to open until sometime in 2018, followed by the pair’s off-the-plan new prestige venue in the under construction Barangaroo site.
“We see so many advantages of sharing our industry leading skills and knowledge within our teams across our restaurants, event, hotels and bars,” said Solomon.
After working together for 26 years, Moran – who will remain the core of the restaurant brands – says they plan to do everything 50/50 from here on.
“Bruce and I have had a fantastic partnership for many years, and given the opportunities coming up in the near future, the timing felt right … it’s pretty exciting.”
*Moran operates ARIA at both Sydney and Brisbane, Chiswick Woollahra and Chiswick at the Gallery, as well as North Bondi Fish, Café at the Gallery and ARIA Catering business.
**The Art-Deco Australian Hotel last operated as The Abercrombie, under the management of Jaime Wirth’s Drink n’ Dine group, closing in 2014.