THIS IS THE PLACE
ONE OF NEIL PERRY’S MANY NEW PROJECTS IS THE PERFECT FUNCTION SPACE, WITH A GRAND DESIGN AND SOME OF AUSTRALIA’S BEST CATERING.
According to Neil Perry, there is only one problem with Alfred Place, his first dedicated events space in Melbourne’s CBD: there isn’t one in Sydney. “There is no space like it,” he says. “I was thinking about trying to have a 60th birthday party somewhere in Sydney and if there was an Alfred Place in Sydney, I would have had it there in a heartbeat.” Unfortunately for Perry, arguably one of the country’s most recognisable chefs, he didn’t end up having the time to celebrate this milestone birthday as he was too busy expanding the Rockpool Dining Group empire.
“It was really rotten timing,” Perry tells WISH. “I was going to have a party and then take my family to Europe but I ended up opening two restaurants instead. So I opened Jade Temple in Bridge Street the day of my birthday and then before I could really have a day off, I opened the David Jones Food Hall in Bondi Junction and then followed it up with Rosetta in Grosvenor Square. Yesterday was my first day off in five weeks. I think I may celebrate my 61st like it is my 60th.”
Perry shows no signs of slowing down since he sold his Rockpool Group to the private equity-backed Urban Purveyor Group – in fact, quite the opposite. The company, which was renamed the Rockpool Dining Group, and in which Perry retains the title “head of culinary”, is rapidly expanding, with 60 restaurants from Rockpool Bar & Grill to Spice Temple to Sake and Fratelli Fresh.
Part of the new merged portfolio was Alfred Place, a dining space in a lane off Collins Street that had previously housed famous Melbourne restaurants Mietta’s, Comme and, most recently, Stokehouse City.
“It has a long history in Melbourne and upstairs, in the ballroom, it is beautiful. It is really grand on a small scale,” he says of the venue. “If you want to do events of 150 or more it is quite hard in the city to fit into a restaurant, to find somewhere that has that kind of grandeur in its architecture.”
But the most unique thing about Alfred Place is not is Art Deco design but the fact that Perry can offer menus from five of the well-known restaurants in the group: Rockpool Bar & Grill, Spice Temple, Sake, Fratelli Fresh and Rosetta. “Having 3000 staff and a number of amazing restaurant brands gives you the ability to do pretty amazing events,” he says. “We have the firepower to be able to do these things.”
Alfred Place launched this year, and the first function held under its roof was the after party of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants awards. That’s a tough crowd – but it went pretty well. “It was the best party ever,” says Perry. “We partied until 4 in the morning and then walked home.”