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.

The Australian - Wish Magazine - - FOOD -

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.”

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