Centennial Hotel marble long table reflected in mirror Athol Wright

Centennial Hotel | Chef Justin North | Sydney dining

Brainy and cheeky. Witty and inventive. Always smoking hot.

Is it a dining room, lounge, bar or art gallery? As it is, the Centennial Hotel in Woollahra ticks all the boxes. And you can throw in upmarket pub.

Centennial Hotel is part of the Halcyon Hotel Group’s portfolio, which also includes the Woolwich Pier Hotel, the Woolloomooloo Bay Hotel and the recently purchased Buena Vista Hotel in Mosman in Sydney’s lower north shore.

Two-hat chef Justin North is executive chef, and both locals and interlopers are making a beeline for his very elegant ”produce-driven comfort food”.

Kick off with a glass of French bubbles ($25) and the snap, crackle, pop of a squid-inked “taco” with raw salmon dice, green chilli and horseradish ($6); graze on the wood-fired flatbread topped with caramelised onion, goats’ curd and prosciutto ($26); then temper that with a fine salad of lobster medallions, buttermilk potatoes, lettuce hearts and an English cream dressing ($26).

But all that’s just really the excuse to get to the Centennial waffles with butterscotch fudge ice cream ($14).

The secret of a great waffle, says North, lies in the use of pearl sugar. His butterscotch sauce and bespoke butterscotch ice-cream doesn’t harm the cause, either. When North took over as head chef, the pressure was on to keep the Centennial Waffle on the menu. So they went one better, inaugurating a World Waffle Day on March 25 (blame the Swedes), during which they took orders for 328 serves of waffles.

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Centennial Hotel Waffles World Waffle Day Justin North butterscotch ice cream

Waffles with a butterscotch ensemble at Woollahra’s Centennial Hotel, Sydney

With lots of leather, wood and cosy nooks and crannies, there’s a sense of perfection rather than of pretention. The owner, property developer Anthony Medich, had all the lounges and chairs in the dining room raised by one inch (now there’s a carpenter’s worst nightmare)! The High Table, in the bar, which seats about 23, is stretch limo-length grey Italian marble over American Oak, from Tamworth artisan Athol Wright of Country Design, who is also responsible for much of the timber triumphery and fit-out in the Sydney Four Season’s Grain Bar.

But it’s the art that really talks to the grooviness of this place. Hey, haven’t I seen that somewhere before? It’s photography central, with – in the dining room, dining room bar and the hallway – works by Tracey Moffatt, Destiny Deacon, Lewis Morley, and Bill Henson. There’s also cool video art from Shaun Gladwell, Petrina Hicks, Julie Rrap and Lucas Davidson, among others.

In pride of place, is the sizzling study of Scarlett Johansson, taken by Annie Leibovitz, at Chateau Marmont in 2004.

Related: Paris lithography | Prints charming

Hotel Centennial, 88 Oxford Street, Woollahra NSW,
(02) 9362 3838


Editor. Writer. Traveller. Keeping tabs on all things fab. susan@excessallareas.com.au

'Centennial Hotel | Chef Justin North | Sydney dining' has 1 comment

  1. December 20, 2019 @ 1:34 am www.fdsfsdf.com

    I delight in, cause I found just what I used to be taking a look for.
    You’ve ended my 4 day long hunt! God Bless you man. Have a nice day.


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