After a six-month reno, Solotel’s Paddington Inn returns next week to celebrate local architecture and its place in the tale of the modern bistro.
Thirty years ago Bruce Solomon purchased the famous corner pub on Oxford Street, thus launching what is now one of Australia’s most celebrated and awarded pub groups.
It gained a reputation in the 80s and 90s as leading the charge in new-age bistro dining, enjoying kitchen maestros such as Steve Manfredi, Paul Merrony and a young Matt Moran.
After an extensive overhaul, the Inn returns to champion Paddington housing and lifestyle, and cutting-edge cuisine – reclaiming its place amongst the likes of Bistro Moncur and Guillaume Brahimi’s eponymous restaurant, and Merivale’s aromatic new The Paddington.
The latest super-star head chef is the up-and-coming Justin Schott, coming via the likes of Rockpool and Kitchen by Mike, with a simple philosophy for the pub of ‘great produce from the season, cooked well’.
“I like simple and distinctive flavours, and have created a menu that is driven by seasonality and a desire to be uncomplicated and flavoursome.
“The new kitchen will be open-plan, so diners will see it all going on. I can’t wait to get moving and add to the innovative food history of the Paddington Inn,” says Schott.
The chef says a focus will be making elements in-house, such as dry-ageing duck, cotechino (a cooked Italian charcuterie similar to salami), and daily focaccia and gingerbread.
The design by George Livissianis, recent creator of The Dolphin, has seen the rear of the hotel become a 120-seat restaurant. The a la carte menu offers the likes of chargrilled Fremantle octopus with grilled fennel and spicy nduja, roasted Thirlmere duck with fermented red cabbage, and a share plate of an 850g Rangers Valley rib-eye.
For beverages, there are bespoke cocktails from group bars manager Jeremy Shipley, and a wine list by award-winning group sommelier Matt Dunne that “celebrates the latest trend for more low-intervention wine”, alongside styles from across NSW and around the globe.
Solotel creative director Anna Solomon says the plan was to create a space that highlights the original character of the building and its place in the community.
“The intention was to celebrate the Paddington terrace,” explains Solomon.
“We wanted to recreate the sense of a darker, more traditional front bar, using heavier materials that mirror the entrance and traditional living rooms you would see in the front of a Paddo terrace.
“The dining room is reflective of the modern addition to the terrace, where you would usually find the kitchen, casual dining or family room.”
The new, improved Paddington Inn will re-open to the public Thursday, 8 September.