Pundits predicting more modest restaurant opening action for Sydney in 2020 might need to reassess, with a four-storey mega venue with room for 450 people heading to Circular Quay.
International restaurateur Scott Brown has taken the old wool store (Hinchcliff House) in the AMP Capital-backed Quay Quarter Lanes, part of the massive redevelopment of an entire city block on Young and Loftus streets.
While Brown hasn't settled on a name for the Italian-leaning mega venue, he has picked a moniker for its Sicilian basement bar that will please fans of The Godfather films: Apollonia.
"The ground floor will have an all-day eatery with an on-site bakery and flour mill," he says. "The next level up will be a more refined restaurant."
Where downstairs will be more masculine and industrial, upstairs will be more feminine. The top floor will include an event space.
Luchetti Krelle will design the venue. Brown, a Sydneysider, left Australia in the 1990s and ran upmarket hotels and lodges before building the Hip Group, which operates some of New Zealand's, well, hippest restaurants, including Amano.
With Brown selling his stake in the Hip Group this year and keen to start again in his home town, agent Steffan Ippolito approached him with the wool stores.
"The building and location are very reminiscent of their iconic Auckland [restaurants]," Ippolito says.
When Quay Quarter Lanes opens in September, the mega restaurant will be surrounded by 20 food and lifestyle venues.