His high-profile return to the restaurant game has attracted as much media attention as the relaunched posh pub itself, which targets the well-heeled locals with a modern approach to comfort food.
|The High Table meal at Hotel Centennial, Oxford Street, Woollahra|
The main dining room and bar, which will soon serve weekend breakfasts, are light and bright, with leather furniture and modern art upping the comfort factor.
|Pre-lunch dining room at Hotel Centennial|
|The High Table|
The High Table is offered from Monday to Wednesday nights where at 7.30pm the kitchen serves a daily full course for the entire table for $24 per person (an additional $10 gets dessert and tea/coffee and $2 from every diner at The High Table is donated to the local Holdsworth Community Centre).
With a changing menu, Mondays are 'Meat and Three Veg', Tuesdays themed as 'Favourites' and Wednesdays are 'By Request' where chef North will cook up a diner's dinner suggestion for the entire table.
|Marinated tuna salad with miso & toasted sesame|
At a preview lunch, we got a peek at Hotel Centennial's dining room menu in The High Table style, shared amongst a large group. We started with flutes of Chandon Rosé NV and an additional small entrée of raw, marinated tuna slices with a soba buckwheat noodle salad, served on custom Hotel Centennial plates.
|Whole roast John Dory|
I dug straight into the whole roasted John Dory, bones and all but served headless and prettily with a lemony herb butter. The thick, succulent fish flesh was well cooked, with plenty to go around.
|Wood roasted Holmbrae chicken, roast gravy, greens|
|5-hour slow cooked lamb shoulder|
Falling from the bone with ease, the lamb was a hearty dish that would certainly please several carnivores (although it's listed on the menu as serving two) and was lovely with Cloudy Bay pinot noir.
|Royal blues roasted in duck fat|
|Aromatic wood roasted vegetables, cardamom & goats' curd|
|Salad leaves with classic vinaigrette|
And that's the thing about communal dining like this, there's chatter and hospitality between diners that is perhaps, more and more, missing from our dining tables at home. Indeed, things and times change but it's nice to see the intimate act of breaking bread between humans conserved in some way, shape or form.
|Raspberry frangipane tart with crème fraîche Chantilly|
|The High Table at Hotel Centennial|
Food, Booze & Shoes dined at Hotel Centennial as a guest, with thanks to Drysdale Communications.