Short black

Leafy outlook: The Oaks in Neutral Bay.
Leafy outlook: The Oaks in Neutral Bay. Photo: Edwina Pickles

Scott Bolles

If Hard Rock Cafe’s recent financial turmoil highlights the plight of themed restaurant concepts in Australia, the site of the doomed Planet Hollywood restaurant on George Street is dishing up something new.

In the space where a life-sized statue of Arnold Schwarzenegger was once the design accoutrement du jour, the venue, which now operates as Star Bar (pictured), has undergone a $2 million facelift under the hand of architects Roberston & Marks.

Short Black hears Danny Russo has signed as consultant chef at the soon to be relaunched venue. The chef, who last night picked up a "schooner" award at the SMH Good Food Pub Food Guide for his work at The Oaks in Neutral Bay (the venue also nabbed the best steak gong), has designed a trademark Italian menu for Star Bar.

Winner: Danny Russo has designed an Italian-inspired menu.
Winner: Danny Russo has designed an Italian-inspired menu.

But Sydneysiders don’t live on ciabatta alone; the city’s current fixation with burger buns, and what resides between them, will also be sated at Star Bar.

Russo’s contribution to the genre is the Russolini, a herb and parmesan-crumbed Angus beef pattie with basil and melted mozzarella. Arnie, in his day, would’ve knocked off a couple at a sitting.