Sydney’s Dolphin Hotel Is Back – with a Brand-New Look

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Sydney stalwart The Dolphin in Surry Hills was snapped up by a consortium last year after the pub swam its last lap under the auspices of the Lantern Hotel Group. 

The new team, which includes restaurant impresario Maurice Terzini and Deke Miskin, owner of nearby Hotel Harry, wisely opted to keep the pub’s name, but that’s pretty much all that’s left of the old Crown Street watering hole.

The new interiors are predominantly white, but feature a huge array of textures, from shiny stools to papier-mâché-effect walls, to pressed tin ceilings. Even the exposed brick is plastered with white grouting, and the bar and floors are of pale wood. The new owners enlisted mates to put their touch on it, with “artist in residence” DJ Beni Single, and sculptor/installation artist Tracey Deep contributing.

Sydney’s Dolphin Hotel Is Back – with a Brand-New Look

Image: Tom Ferguson

Where the old Dolphin was reliable for a steak and beer, the new Dolphin is more sophisticated. Each of its three areas – Dining Room, Wine Room, and Public Bar – offers a different experience. Like Terzini’s Bondi establishments Icebergs and Da Orazio, The Dolphin will have an Italo-Australian menu with a focus on local ingredients. 

The space was designed by George Livissianis, the interior architect behind Potts Point eateries The Apollo and Billy Kwong, and Surry Hills favourite Longrain. With The Dolphin, Livissianis preserved any elements that had integrity, stripped them back to raw where it was possible, and where it wasn’t, wrapped them in white material (the afore-mentioned papier-mâché effect).

Sydney’s Dolphin Hotel Is Back – with a Brand-New Look

Image: Tom Ferguson

“The Dolphin Hotel represents all the things I live for,” Terzini told Travel Insider. “Art, fashion, music, food, wine and great simple mixed drinks in an environment that doesn’t take itself too seriously. If you can’t have fun, why go out at all?”

Terzini, whose The Wine Room changed the restaurant scene in Melbourne when it opened 20 years ago, enlisted the services of his top-notch team at Icebergs in Bondi to create the menu and wine list. 

Sydney’s Dolphin Hotel Is Back – with a Brand-New Look

Image: Tom Ferguson

Executive chef Monty Koludrovic (Icebergs head chef) is overseeing a team that includes Dan Medcalf (also from Icebergs) as head chef of the Dining Room and Sam Cheetham (formerly of Becasse and Victoria Room) as head chef of the Wine Room. The wine list has been designed by James Hird (2015 Sommelier of the Year, thank you very much), and Lenny Opai is charged with cocktail creation.

The Dolphin Hotel is set to reopen early June.

Top image (left to right) Maurice Terzini and interior designer George Livissianis.Image: Tom Ferguson.

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