|There is a golden glow about the newly opened Grana in Sydney’s Circular quay; from the sandstone walls and the warm red ironbark beams of the ceiling to the displays of wheat and the crusty fresh bread in the bakery. All of which bodes well for the first offering in this new multi-venue destination.|
The food gets a gold star too, this is modern Australia-Italian with flair. A burrata rhubarb and radicchio melts in the mouth and the trevally fish tartare has a delicious burnt cucumber bite but it is when we get to the hand-harvested Jervis Bay mussels and pippins that things nearly get ugly. The chilli and citrus sauce is so good we fight over the sauce and have to mop it up with extra house-made sourdough. A dessert standout is the contrast of mellow mousse and citrus tang in the chocolate cream and orange bitter granita.
The restaurant is housed on the ground floor of the Hinchcliff building, which was a wool store in the 1800s. Sydney has a dearth of historic buildings so it is good to see this one so sympathetically, and stylishly, restored - who knew a sweeping 40 metre crushed mother of pearl benchtop and a marble bar went so well in a wool warehouse.
The multi-floored venue is being created by the House Made Hospitality group with restaurateur Scott Brown (New Zealand’s answer to Justin Hemmes) at the helm and Justin Newton as Managing Director. There’s an impressive culinary and bar crew too, with ex-Flying Fish chef Stephen Seckold as culinary director, and chefs Elliott Pinn (Doot Doot Doot, Rascal) and Jason Duncan (Fred's) also on board.
Grana is on the ground floor - Apollonia, a basement bar carved out of the bedrock, opens tonight (21 April) with a back story inspired by Jason Duncan’s love of Mario Puzo’s The God Father. In the book anti-hero Michael Corleone is exiled to Sicily where he falls in love with a woman called Apollonia, hence this mafia-meets-modern speakeasy. Music is an eclectic mix from Fifties Latin crooners to Nineties Boy Bands and beyond. Even its scented candles are Sicilian with hints of orange and a whiff of gun smoke. Cocktails have the same vintage feel with a 21st century twist.
They’ll be a function space on the top floor but the one we’re really waiting for is the premium-casual Mediterranean eatery, Lana (Level 1), opening on 6 May. Blush and navy are the theme with pink and white sofas, intimate banquettes and a pink marble cocktail bar. Book us the 12-seater “Party Table” and a Cocktail Explosion (speciality share cocktail) please.
Luxury Link: www.grana.sydney
Hilary Doling, 21/04/2021