The private dining room. Done badly, it’s the gustative equivalent of Siberia. Done properly, it’s a chance to rock it like a Rockefeller. Adding a touch of class to any business meeting, the perfect private dining room is a haven from the crowds; an express elevator to exclusivity. The must-haves? Furnishings that bring an element of luxury, service that rises to the occasion and absolute discretion. Add a bespoke menu of excellent food and matching wines then sit back and enjoy your (temporary) status as a master of the universe.
Yes, it’s in the casino but it’s a world apart; cut from 19th- century bones, this impressive space (pictured at top) has been reimagined as a New York-style grill. Chef Sean Connolly knows how to impress a crowd and the private dining space seating up to 18 is no exception. Raised above the main dining floor (you can see the crowds below through one- way glass but they can’t see you), it has an old-world atmosphere, thanks to an ornate curved ceiling. But the architectural chandelier, marble-topped sideboard and artistic black-and- white portrait of the chef-patron himself create a mood that’s more modern-luxe boardroom. The food is solid if unsurprising, with offerings such as the signature South Australian lamb shoulder in licorice gravy and a similarly parochial wine list.
The Dom Pérignon Room is the smallest (the capacity is 18), most intimate and most exclusive private dining space at Vue de Monde. This ambient, theatrical room is geared towards maximum enjoyment of the spectacular 55th-floor views of Melbourne but the décor is no slouch. Australian contemporary textile artist Hiromi Tango has created a site- specific installation that serves as a conversational centrepiece; the tables and chairs are clad in tactile kangaroo hide and fur; and a subtle taste of the Australian terroir is conveyed through the use of river rocks and old grapevines as cutlery settings and props for the dramatic dégustation menu. If you really want to splash out, the chefs can devise a menu where each course is matched to a glass of vintage Dom Pérignon.
A colourful portrait of owner Philippe Mouchel’s mentor, Paul Bocuse, hangs on the wall of this so-Frenchy, so-chic private dining salon (which can accommodate up to 10 people) that’s removed in splendid isolation from the equally elegant main dining areas. The white wainscoting, gleaming metal pendant lights, gilt-framed mirror and pale-grey upholstered chairs are a study in pitch-perfect style, as is Mouchel’s classic-with-a-twist French food.
This glam central-Sydney Italian boasts more masculine charm than Marcello Mastroianni; ditto the private dining room with walls that double as the restaurant’s visually arresting olioteca (olive oil store). It has an admirably flexible capacity (eight to 56), thanks to removable soundproof panels that can be used to manage the atmosphere of the dark and delightfully moody room. A crowd-pleasing menu brings the regional Italian goods (it’s the go-to for artisanal pastas), while the smartly dressed waiters are some of the best in the business.
Restaurant Hubert, Sydney
The hottest ticket in town, Hubert brings fin-de-siècle class to private dining. Ornate, intricate and intimate, with warmth conjured from brass, leather and timber, it’s restaurant as stage show. The two private dining rooms, seating eight to 10, have old-fashioned-gentlemen’s-club charm and plenty of curios (the private space dubbed the Botero Boardroom is decorated with artworks by Colombian figurative painter Fernando Botero). Along with the classic French menu and beautifully thought-out wine list, it’s pure class.