After a small hiatus, Bentley Restaurant and Bar is back with a refreshed dining room and new menu.
"We had to replace the old air conditioning system, which meant pulling the ceiling down and closing for a fortnight," Bentley co-owner and sommelier Nick Hildebrandt says.
"It was a good opportunity to refresh the place at the same time. We never really loved the bar - it was one of those restaurant bars that didn't really have its own identity. So we said 'why not spend a bit of money and fix all the other stuff we don't like too?', such as the tabletops and some of the lighting in the dining room."
Pascale Gomes-McNabb, long-time creative partner with Hildebrandt and Bentley chef Brent Savage, has furnished the bar with brass, timber tables and waxed leather banquettes. A striking green artwork now covers the glass balustrade separating bar and dining room, making the sophisticated space more intimate.
"We always want to be leaders and push boundaries," says Hildebrandt, who also co-owns Monopole, Yellow and Cirrus with Savage. "If you're an Italian or Chinese restaurant you don't really have to do that, but if you're a contemporary Australian restaurant you have to keep evolving."
To that end, the new menu will have "defined focus on sourcing interesting and unique ingredients" says Savage who has refreshed the a la carte and tasting menu options with Bentley head chef Aiden Stevens.
New dishes include pickled wagyu tongue with fermented saltbush, muntrie relish and pepperberry ($27), Tasmanian abalone with hen-of-the-woods mushrooms and roast chicken mayonnaise ($80), Skull Island prawns with guanciale, koshihikari rice and sea herbs ($34), and watermelon and shiso sorbet with blackberry and Davidson's plum ($22).
"Bentley is the most creative we get to be with food and wine across our four venues," says Hildebrandt. "This is really exciting for us. It's just like opening a new restaurant."
27 O'Connell Street Sydney, 02 8214 0505, thebentley.com.au.
Bentley Restaurant and Bar reopens May 8 at 6pm.