Underground tunnels have inspired many a Hollywood movie and Netflix series such as The Great Escape, Outlander, even Game of Thrones. Now it’s inspiring a restaurant. Every day our feet tread over the history below as the CBD is being dug up. Platform 818 is here to remind us what lies beneath.
Mercure’s new restaurant has a Scottish Highland twist. It sits on top of the now unused ‘Goods Line Tunnel’ that connected Sydney Rail Yard and the Sydney-Parramatta railway line to the shipping port of Darling Harbour. Executive chef, Simon Harrison has even sourced produce from along the NSW railways towns.
Leave George street and its main bus station behind by climbing the spiral staircase. Tartan carpets and a central, square illuminated bar awaits you. Arches, exposed bricks and works of art depicting railway themes transport you to a yesteryear railway era with a stunning arched feature window at the end of an expansive dining area. Start with their signature ‘Glenfiddich Terrarium Experience’. Glass bowls are planted with a mini garden of moss, barley floor, heathers and cotton seed containing a whisky glass which is filled with your choice of 12, 15, 18-year, Project XX, or IPA whisky. Simply choose your hand made chocolates from a large wood box served at the bar.
The waiters wear badges which not only tell you their name, but their home ‘station’. Aman from Rockdale serves starters of truffle honey roasted fig, scallops in lime butter and simmering garlic prawns in a creamy bacon sauce served in a cast iron pot. Mains include a fall-off-the bone duck confit on a bed of braised red cabbage, spaghetti tossed with generously sized diamond clams and a rotolo of spinach, persian feta with a beurre noisette which just misses the mark on portion size and flavour. Sides of brussel sprouts dotted with smokey speck prove it’s been a misunderstood vegetable when cooked like this . The wine list pushes the boundaries of varietals with drops like First Creek Botanica and Yarra Valley Giant Steps Rose. The serving of cocktails is about to get more exciting with a rose gold trolley brought to your table.
So next time your bus or train is late, you might like to rethink your options. In 1855 Central Station was nothing more than wood and a corrugated iron shed, yet today you can enjoy a bit of the Scottish highlands combined with the best of NSW produce. It all adds up to a welcome new carriage in town.
Mercure Sydney, 818 George Street, Chippendale, NSW.
Hours:Breakfast: weekdays 6:30am to 10am, weekends 6:30am to 11am
Dinner: Everyday 6:00pm to Late,