High Table Pop Up at Hotel Centennial

May 7, 2014

Photos by Nadean Richards

The Eat Read Love Pop Up Dinner celebrating Hotel Centennial's new High Table
A public house and dining room overlooking Sydney’s Centennial Parklands in Woollahra, Hotel Centennial was originally established to mark the centenary of the foundation of Australia in 1888 and a long time fixture in eastern suburbs society. Now, after an extensive refurbishment, the new Hotel Centennial officially reopened its doors on 12 April and I was lucky enough to be invited to host a pop up dinner at the brand new High Table

The Eat Read Love Pop Up Dinner concept commenced in early 2013 in a little sandstone apartment in Balmain and continues to gather momentum. I am really passionate about bringing fellow creative spirits, food lovers and artists together around shared table for a relaxed and intimate dinner. I also love to celebrate something special at every pop up dinner. With the first ‘Artisan’ dinner launching a new exhibition by Artist Lisa Madigan, followed by a Russian Glam inspired Book Club dinner in Watsons Bay with special guest Author Belinda Alexandra and the most recent event - a celebration of a gorgeous new Sydney dining space and brand new communal ‘High Table’ menu by acclaimed Chef Justin North.  

So what is the High Table you might ask? Inspired by the original concept of the dining room table, The High Table offers a space for people to sit down together to share a meal. You can just drop in and sit down and while there is no obligation to talk to anyone, you can if you want. You just take your seat at 7.15pm as dinner will be served by 7.30pm. From Monday through to Wednesday just check the The High Table tumblr at 12pm each day or simply turn up and be surprised. Given how popular it has been it might be worth booking. And in true relaxed comfort dining Mondays are “Meat and Three Veg”, Tuesdays are “Favourites”, Wednesdays are “By Request”

It was great to see acclaimed chef and culinary genius back in the kitchen doing what he does best and with plenty of loyal fans and locals alike lining up to get in. Justin's food was amazing and perfect Autumn fare for the first day of May! With marinated tuna salad with miso & toasted sesame to start, followed by mouth melting five hour slow cooked lamb shoulder with sides of wood roasted vegetables, the creamiest mash and an extra special High Table roast chicken to share. Oh and did I mention the frangipane quince tart with vanilla crème chantilly for dessert! Thank you to Justin who didn't stop for a breath to cook for our table of 30 on one of the busiest nights the hotel has seen since opening. It was just buzzing. 

And the interiors are pretty special too. Sydney designers Luchetti Krelle have transformed the room into a space where elegance hasn't come at the cost of ease. "The restaurant has an almost residential feeling; everything's been designed around creating that beautiful and lively atmosphere and the sense of comfort you might have at home," says North. I loved the interiors so much they have their own blog post.

Lisa Madigan, Natalie Hayllar, Liv Lundelius, Emma Duckworth, Jasmin Wong

Christine Atherton, Jennifer Jenner, Milton Gan, Liv Lundelius, Sophie Lord, Luisa Brimble

John Noble, Natalie Hayllar, Catherine Saxelby, Emma Stirling, Evi O, Julie Gibbs, Kate Gibbs

Elisabeth Drysdale, John Noble, Natalie Hayllar, Jaclyn Carlson, Luisa Brimble

The eat read love Pop Up Dinner wouldn't be possible without a little help along the way. A huge thank you to Elisabeth, John and Emma at Hotel Centennial  for the opportunity to host the dinner in such a fine space and of course to Chef Justin North for the amazing menu. 

To the gorgeous and talented Lisa Madigan who has styled all of my pop up events (Our next event together will be for Kinfolk in Avalon) and Nadean Richards1/3 of the One Fine Day collective and a masterful photographer with the knack of capturing the best moments of our dinners.  Thanks to my fellow queens of collaboration Jaclyn Carlson from Blog Society and Luisa Brimble for being a huge support of the pop up dinner series in general. 

And why the big smile? To all of my friends who came along in support it was such a treat for me to share The High Table with you and to have so many talented and passionate foodies, writers, stylists, bloggers and photographers all on one table. You are the best part of any event! 

Natalie x

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