Doing business while breaking bread? This time-honoured ritual can be madding amid the bustle of a busy dining room. Far from the crowd in your own private sanctuary, however, it can be the apex of the restaurant experience. The very best private dining rooms aren’t just a place where you eat – they’re an unforgettable experience, as well as a sure-fire way to put your best corporate foot forward.
Garden State Hotel, Melbourne
The new kid on the Melbourne CBD block, Garden State Hotel is a three-tiered extravaganza designed around a lush central atrium, with several dining spaces crowning its status as the city’s latest It venue. Our pick: the sleek and darkly moody Balcony Dining Room, where up to 20 people can enjoy private bathrooms, a wall-mounted plasma screen and an exclusive balcony perfect for gazing in splendid isolation at the activity below.
Vue de Monde, Melbourne
How appropriate that the restaurant at the pinnacle of Melbourne dining – the Rialto building’s 55th floor, to be precise – also boasts the private dining room of any titan’s fevered dreams. The renovation of the 18-person-capacity Dom Pérignon Room has added Australian textile artist Hiromi Tango’s other-worldly botanical ceiling installation threaded with delicate lights, while Shannon Bennett’s always innovative French fare can be matched with an array of the storied champagne house’s greatest hits for the ultimate high-roller experience.
1889 Enoteca, Brisbane
Modern dining meets old-world grandeur at this most Italian of restaurants. Housed in the heritage-listed 19th-century Moreton Rubber Works building in the heart of Woolloongabba’s café and antiques quarter, 1889 Enoteca’s atmospheric private dining room – its repurposed wine cellar – brings bucketloads of charm with original brick walls, chandeliers and vintage wine bottles lining the walls. The Family Table sharing menu is a great way to break the corporate ice.
Bentley Restaurant + Bar, Sydney
The formidable partnership of chef Brent Savage and sommelier Nick Hildebrandt makes dining privately at their flagship restaurant, Bentley, in an 1850s building in Sydney’s CBD, an occasion to remember. Dressed to impress with ceiling light installations from Pascale Gomes-McNabb, noise-cancelling carpet and linen-clad tables, two completely private spaces seat up to 40 people each and are both equipped with all the technological mod cons.
Pendolino, Sydney | 2017 Winner
It’s the colour that grabs you first: the bottles of amber-hued olive oil along the walls, glowing as if powered by their own internal light source. Welcome to Pendolino’s olive oil library, or olioteca (pictured at top), a testament to owner Nino Zoccali’s obsession. The good news is this apothecary-like space doubles as a private dining room. The even better news? Zoccali not only conjures some of the most refined Italian food in the business, he also knows how to woo the business crowd, with removable soundproof panels creating capacity for anything from an intimate group of eight guests to a boisterous 56.