New Events Venue at Watsons Bay Boutique Hotel

A newly refreshed venue in Watsons Bay, Sydney, is the perfect fit for glamorous gatherings and whiling away afternoons by the beach. Vogue Living style director Alexandra Gordon speaks to co-owner Fraser Short and shares a recipe from the venue’s chef, Pete Evans.

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Jostling for attention with spectacular views of Sydney Harbour, 
the Sunset Room at the Watsons Bay Boutique Hotel is a glimpse into 
an exciting new venue for Sydney diners this spring. “The Sunset Room is really our foray into the new Watsons Bay Hotel,” says co-owner Fraser Short, who, together with hotelier Arthur Laundy, acquired the hotel last November. On a site as big as a city block, the complex encompasses 32 hotel rooms, a public bar and a restaurant, as well as several function rooms including the Sunset Room, a space now available for weddings and parties thanks to a makeover by architect Jeremy Bull of Alexander and Co.

Catering and events will be headed up by well-known chef Pete Evans, with a menu that includes slow-baked ocean trout and Gippsland suckling pig. “We do breakfast here for the hotel guests, and in summer we’ll extend that to the public,” says Short.

Bull was an obvious choice to help realise Short’s vision; the two had established a great rapport while working together on the recent revival 
of The Morrison Bar and Oyster Room in Sydney’s CBD. For this project, they sourced inspiration by visiting venues they loved, and the design and creation of the Sunset Room was completed in just five weeks.linebreak

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“This is an amazing space with an amazing view, so it was about unifying it all,” says Bull. “It’s meant to feel like a living space that you once owned 
or that you once loved.” He established a quietly textured backdrop with white-panelled walls and smoked American oak floorboards, with handmade cement tiles from Morocco used to delineate entry and exit points.

Understated in its execution, the room achieves a relaxed yet elegant atmosphere through a fireplace and a scattering of restored vintage furniture and found objects sourced by stylist Caroline Choker. The wide doorway that now welcomes guests from the lobby creates a sense of entrance. >

< With the Sunset Bar now complete, work on the Beach Club below is imminent. As well as refurnishing the ground level and upper decks, Short has plans for a fish-and-chippery opening out on to Robertson Park, a cocktail bar and 15-metre-long steps that will lead guests up from the sand. Another kitchen is due to be installed.

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“The next stage will pull the whole story together,” says Bull. Adds Short: “To create an amazing hotel takes years — not two years but 10 or 20. That’s our commitment.”

In the meantime, the tranquil Sunset Room seems the perfect place 
in which to enjoy a sunset cocktail.

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‘Kia ora’ New Zealand salmon (Serves 4)
  • 500g frozen peas, thawed
  • 4 x 180g salmon fillets, skin on, pin-boned
  • 30ml olive oil 20g fresh horseradish, peeled, grated, to garnish
  • celery leaves and Australian native violets*, to garnish
  • Honey mustard sauce:
  • 30g Dijon mustard
  • 30g organic honey
  • 1 free-range egg yolk
  • 2 lemons, juiced
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Red radish salad:
  • 3 red radishes, trimmed, thinly sliced
  • 1 baby fennel bulb, trimmed, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced celery heart
  • 1/4 cup chervil sprigs
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 30ml extra virgin olive oil

To make the honey mustard sauce, whisk mustard, honey, egg yolk and lemon juice in a bowl until combined. Season.

Gradually add oil in a thin, steady stream, whisking constantly until well combined.

Place peas and 1 tablespoon of water in a food processor and process until pureed. Season.

Using a metal spoon, press pea puree through a fine sieve into a bowl.

To make radish salad, place radish, fennel, celery and chervil in a large bowl. Whisk lemon juice and oil in a jug until combined. Season. Set aside until required.

Brush salmon with 1 tablespoon of oil and season well. Heat remaining oil in a frying pan over a medium-high heat. Cook salmon, skin-side down, for 2 minutes or until golden. Turn and cook for a further 2 minutes for medium-rare or until cooked to your liking.

Spread pea puree over serving plates and top with salmon.

Add dressing to radish salad and toss until combined. Arrange radish salad over salmon. Top with a few pinches of horseradish, celery leaves and violets. Drizzle honey mustard sauce around salmon and serve.

*Ensure violets have not been treated with sprays. Available at garden centres.

The Sunset Room at Watsons Bay Boutique Hotel, 1 Military Road, 
Watsons Bay NSW, (02) 3997 5644.

Originally published as ‘Into the Sunset’ on page 69 of Vogue Living July/August 2013. See the full article for more exclusive recipes by Pete Evans.

Words: Alexandra Gordon
Photography: Michael Wee

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Comments
3 Responses to “New Events Venue at Watsons Bay Boutique Hotel”
  1. Feels like being on a holiday by just looking at these pictures! looks great can’t wait to take a drive to the east side of Sydney !

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