Consider it a big win for tired shoppers, thirsty CBD office workers and fans of Middle Eastern cooking. Babylon, the first of two anticipated new venues on Westfield Sydney’s Level 7 rooftop, is now open.
It’s no small undertaking – the 1,200-square-metre space holds 800 people, across a mix of indoor and outdoor drinking and dining areas. Bars take up most of the elbow room, and there’s no shortage of liquid pleasure to be found – 13 taps and more than 250 whiskies, for starters. Cocktails come courtesy of bar manager David Nutting, who’s clocked time at Restaurant Hubert and Eau de Vie, and draw inspiration from Levantine ingredients. Expect the likes of hibiscus, pomegranate and cumin seeds in variations on the classics, and playful additions like house-made baklava syrup and Turkish coffee, too.
On the food front, Arman Uz (ex-Efendy) nods to his Turkish upbringing, while borrowing from Lebanese, Israeli and Egyptian culinary traditions, among others. The bar menu is mezze-heavy – think shareable snacks like hummus with wattleseed dukkah, cabbage kebabs, harissa chicken wings, and a duck and cinnamon-sugar gozleme – while restaurant dishes are larger in format, showcasing the custom-built wood and charcoal grill and two rotisseries. We're talking slow-cooked wagyu tri-tip, braised lamb neck and eggplant for days.
Architects Hogg & Lamb and stylists Stewart + Highfield have spared no expense on the Ancient World-gone-glam fit-out, which boasts marble imported from Spain, Greece and Brazil, parquet flooring and brass finishes, along with beaded curtains, velvet and leather upholstery.
It’s an ambitious opening, not least for the ambitious hours of operation: all seven days from 10am through until midnight. For now, a reduced a bar and restaurant food menu is available, with the full menu due to go live from mid-July. Modern Cantonese eatery Duck & Rice, the second of the two new rooftop venues, is slated to open next week.
Our advice? Skip the frenzy of the shopping centre itself and take the express escalator from Pitt Street Mall.
Level 7, Westfield Pitt St, Sydney 2000. 02 9023 9990. www.babylonrooftop.com.au. Daily 10am-midnight.
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