34 Harrington St, Sydney
02 8220 9999
Located on the site of Sydney’s first hospital, the Harbour Rocks Hotel is steeped in history. After the hospital was moved in 1817, the site became home to a quarry, a slum of ten houses and a gentleman’s club. In 1887, the existing buildings were mowed down to make way for a four-storey building, built by local lawyer, George Evans.
The venue is today home to a boutique hotel, offering a home away from home for both travellers and locals looking to escape. Just one element of its appeal lies in its flagship restaurant, Scarlett Restaurant.
Scarlett takes its name from a figure you won’t find in the history books. The mysterious Madame Scarlett was once the owner of the gentleman’s club that inhabited part of the site, and her involvement made it the perfect moniker for the venue.
Within Scarlett’s four walls, guests are treated like true ladies and gentlemen, spoilt for choice over breakfast and dinner. Guests of the hotel are the main visitors in the morning, popping by for dishes like Scarlett’s frittata with butternut pumpkin, semi-dried tomato, spinach and cheddar, or Eric’s hearty big breakfast with all the trimmings including grilled field mushrooms, chipolata and free-range eggs.
Come dinner time, the innovative team of chefs draw upon a range of skills and culinary backgrounds to present plates that emphasise seasonality and local produce. They look to locally sourced meat as well as seafood from the Sydney Fish Market for their ingredients, converting them into starters like beef tataki with sticky rice, shiso and ponzu, or a prawn and lobster raviolo with kombu broth.
For mains, delicious delights include the charcoal eye fillet with creamy kimchi risotto and a drizzle of maple jus, or the duck assiete, served with crepe, miso and corn. You can finish the experience off with a coconut panna cotta or a hazelnut mille feuille, or sit back and relax with a cheese board of smoked cheddar, ash-rolled chevre, tarwin blue and fleur du maquis, served with lavosh, grapes and quince.
The cocktail selection includes slightly tweaked classics such as Scarlett’s dirty mojito with Stolen spiced rum. The beers are all Australian, bar one, and the sparkling is straight from Champagne itself. The extensive list of reds and whites range from the vineyards of New Zealand and France, to USA and of course, Australia.
The restaurant space is narrow and cosy, with sandstone bricks giving it an underground feel. If you look carefully, you’ll notice each has different etched markings, initialled into the bricks by their original creators. Archways add to the heritage feel and a hand-crafted oak lounge adds a touch of luxury.
Scarlett Restaurant combines old-world charm with an upmarket dining experience in the historic Rocks precinct. With such elegant interiors and atmosphere, you’ll forget it was once home to some rather risque business.