When Kylie Kwong opens the doors to her new Potts Point restaurant this week, she'll be bringing the spirit of Surry Hills along with her.
The relocated Billy Kwong kicks off on Friday December 12 on bustling Macleay Street.
Inhabiting a significantly larger space than the original Crown Street venue, the new restaurant will seat 143 in a space of 300 square metres versus 50 sq m in a 70 sq m locale. Perhaps most excitingly for diners, where there was once no booking system there are now reservations available.
"What we are trying to do is bottle the DNA of Crown Street because that is what we all know and love," Kwong says.
"We're just trying to put it into an amazing, beautiful and accessible space. The restaurant has three different sections and can sit about 63 people in the front section.
"The bar can seat 34 - I don't know about you, but I love to have dinner sitting at the bar - and the back section can seat about 46."
Space isn't the only difference. The Potts Point location will have a much more diverse drinks selection, including wines from around the world, signature cocktails and a range of sake and beer, including the specially brewed "Quandong Saison" from Newtown brewery Young Henrys.
Involvement of the Potts Point community is also paramount to Kwong, who has drawn in help from local bodies. As an ambassador of the Kings Cross Wayside Chapel, Kwong has made community collaboration a basis for operation of the new venue.
"I've spent the last year working very hard forging relationships with the surrounding community that I love," she says.
"We're doing a wonderful collaboration with the Wayside Chapel and the Wayside Bees project.
"So visitors who come to the chapel and help make the honey on the rooftop - I will be buying the honey back from the chapel and using it for marinating my pork for the pork buns that we'll be serving in the restaurant."
Also involved in providing weeds, greens and flowers for the venue are the Woolloomooloo Community Gardens, St Canice's parish, Rushcutters Bay Kindergarten and St Vincent's College students.
The collaborations continue with music for the venue curated by Steve Pavlovic from Modular Recordings and design by George Livissianis (Longrain, The Apollo) who brings native wood and Tibetan style to the space.
"It's almost like a temple," she says. "It's earthy, it's homey, it's inviting... I feel like you'll be coming into my home."
Kwong's personal art collection dons the walls, with pieces by Brett Whiteley and Martin Sharp injecting visions of Sydney into the space. This, of course, is accompanied by the iconic Billy Kwong lantern that was relocated from the original Crown Street venue (opened in 2002).
"Sadness is a natural process because we've had so many experiences in Crown Street," she says.
"But this has to happen, businesses need to evolve and develop and this is all a part of my Billy Kwong journey."
Billy Kwong, Shop 1, 28 Macleay Street, Potts Point, 9332 3300, billykwong.com.au