There’s a heap of restaurants in Sydney with private dining rooms, and we’ve put together a list of the best for you. From the moody, underground vibes of Spice Temple in the CBD, to waterfront views at Freshwater’s Pilu, outsourcing is the smart way to entertain. So gather your people together, choose your spot, and worry only about the serious business of eating and merriment. And the best part? You don’t have to do the dishes.
The best private dining rooms in Sydney
Wind your way down the stairs into the cavernous glory that is Hubert – home to good times and the much-worshipped chicken fricassée. Take a right at the bottom and you’ll come to the two intimate private dining rooms that are a world of their own. The first fits ten and the second just eight, so you might have to be brutal with the invite list. Groups can choose from two menu options which feature a roll call of Hubert’s takes on French classics, at $85pp or $125pp, depending on appetites. The Swillhouse team (Baxter Inn, Shady Pines, Frankie’s) know their way around a bar, and the cocktail and wine choices are as impressive as the food. There’s no minimum spend but a service fee of ten per cent applies. Get your people together, grab a room, and toast to Sydney’s hottest restaurant right now.
While diners now get their Ben Milgate and Elvis Abrahanowicz food fix at Porteño's new digs on Holt Street, the original site of the top notch restaurant now serves as an event space. You can spread out across grand the two-level restaurant and rent out the entire space to yourself and you can do a sit-down do or a cocktail-style affair. The menu dishes out all of the Porteño favourites – including those Brussels sprouts, barbecued rolled pork, lamb sausage and wood fired lamb – and upstairs caters for up to 50 people seated and 150 standing, while downstairs caters to 130 seated and 180 standing.
Book the Balcony Room at Pilu and you and your group will be rewarded with Insta-worthy, uninterrupted views of Freshwater Beach. The space, which stretches along the side of the weatherboard building, can fit up to 18 and has its own private balcony where you can watch the waves while sipping on an apéritif. Come for a long lunch or admire the sunset with your pals over dinner. Set menus all feature the gorgeous Sardinian fare that this place is famous for. Three courses are $98pp; five $110pp; seven $125pp. If there’s anything in particular your people desire, the kitchen is happy to work on a special menu – price on application. Water views in Sydney don’t come cheap: there’s a minimum spend of $1,800 at Pilu.
Rushcutters Bay’s shrine to culinary cool has turned Italian in this city upside down. You and your crew can book into the private dining room at ACME to celebrate Mitch Orr’s brilliance together. The room, downstairs from the street level, comfortably sits 14-18 and features a long, pale wood table, low lighting and the same pared-back good looks as the rest of the restaurant. There’s an adjacent bar that acts as a holding area for diners, so you may not always be alone, but you’ll always be close to the liquor. The $60pp chef’s choice set menu takes most of the decision-making out of the equation, with a selection of four snacks and four pastas. Thankfully, you’ll find the pig’s head macaroni on there – there’s a reason this dish has reached cult status. A ten per cent service fee comes on top of the bill but there’s no minimum spend.
Bring your posse along to One Penny Red, Summer Hill’s former post office that’s given inner westies something to laud over their eastern counterparts. Head up the stairs and you’ll find the private dining area, fit for ten. The cosy room, adjacent to Vernon’s Bar, opens out onto the first floor balcony and is adorned with framed First Day Covers – a homage to the building’s original purpose. The $75pp, four-course set menu ($130pp with matching wines) offers the kind of moreish, rustic food that chef RJ Lines has built his name on. There’s no room hire cost and no minimum spend, which sounds like a good deal to us. Service is on point and the kitchen is focused on unpretentious food, done well.
Though the crowds have quietened down somewhat since its opening, the Paddington is still perpetually busy. All the more reason to nab the private dining space here. Situated on the second floor and with enough room for 12, the area has an open archway facing out to the cocktail bar. Secret your party inside and enjoy the best of what this Merivale behemoth has to offer, minus much of the noise. Groups dine from a generous $55pp set menu, which includes dessert. And never fear, Ben Greeno’s famed rotisserie chicken is included. The only problem is you’re going to have to share. There’s a minimum spend of $1,000, but given the quality and depth of the drinks list that shouldn’t be too hard to do amongst friends.
Rally the troops and head to the Commons. As the name suggests, pretensions are minimal and all are welcome at this converted sandstone cottage. The charming private dining loft is one level up from the main dining area and seats up to 16. There’s a separate sound system up top too, so prepare to crack out your inner DJ. You can book the space for lunch or dinner and it’s even available for breakfast bookings on the weekend. Keep things relaxed and order from the à la carte menu, or go for the three-course set menu for $49pp. Like the space, the food is homely and welcoming – it’s also vegetarian friendly. Think wild mushroom salad with caramelised shallots for entrée and mussels in white wine for mains. There’s no minimum spend here, just a 10 per cent service fee added for private room bookings.
With head chef Jose Silva (ex Guillaume at Bennelong) and former Rockpool Bar and Grill sommelier Louella Mathews on deck, this Double Bay newcomer has things all stitched up. The upstairs dining room looks out onto leafy Bay Street and is super for groups of up to 16. Dark wood panelling and tables match the sophisticated, unfussy vibe. You and your coterie can dine from the $65pp set menu, which is designed to share. Given Silva’s Portuguese background it should come as no surprise that the menu leans toward the Mediterranean. For a little extra dosh you can go all out and order the Portuguese Tart 'Croquembouche' – a tower of tarts encased in spun sugar. Yes, it’s as epic as it sounds. As you’d expect from Mathews, the wine list is top-notch, so it’s lucky you’ll be with the people you love to work your way through it. A minimum spend applies only on Friday and Saturday nights and is negotiable for smaller groups.
You might not think there’d be room to hide away your clique in this diminutive degustation dining temple, but Sixpenny has a private dining space that’s perfect for groups of up to ten. The room, down the corridor from the main dining area, has a window that looks into the kitchen, where you can watch Daniel Puskas and his team calmly work their magic. Like the rest of restaurant, the room has a Nordic sensibility – the decor is minimalist with prints of native Australian plants on the walls. Choose from the Small menu, $115pp, $190pp with matching wines, or undo your top button for the Large menu, $145pp, $240pp with wines. It may not be cheap, and a ten per cent service fee is added to group bookings, but this is a special-occasion place focused on substance over glamour where you and your bunch will feel right at home.
Step underground into your own private dining haven at Spice Temple. Set away from the hubbub of the main restaurant behind a beaded curtain, the chic room has lighting that can be adjusted to suit your required level of mystique. The space can accommodate up to 12 people in style. Dine à la carte or indulge in one of two banquet menus showcasing regional Chinese flavours – $75pp or $95pp. Bespoke cocktails inspired by the Chinese zodiac will help give your party some pep. For those on the straight and narrow, there’s an extensive list of teas. There’s a minimum spend of $1,000 from January to November and $1,200 for the month of December. This place has sensuality and style in spades so get dressed up, get together and get there.
Take your party underground to Indu, the modern Indian hotspot situated beneath George Street. Two dining alcoves come off the main dining area, each fitting up to 12 people. Carved into the side of the heritage-listed building, the tunnel-like rooms feature exposed brick walls and intricate floor tiling. The long table means that you may have to play musical chairs throughout the meal in order not to shout. A curtain can be draped across the entrance for more privacy. The $65pp set menu will take your taste buds around the subcontinent, starting with dosa and working up to more sizeable dishes like Goan pork belly curry. Bump it up to $80pp, and the menu includes Indu’s signature lamb raan: lamb leg marinated in yoghurt and spices and cooked over two days. The minimum spend for groups is $1,000; easily done here, we reckon.
You can seat up to 24 people upstairs at this excellent wine bar, making it an ace place to host a private dinner. You know what you need to accompany that fresh and fruity glass of Xavier fiano from Heathcote? A soft, hot block of haloumi and tapioca, fried a golden brown and topped with XO sauce to deliver a salty, spicy sucker punch, with a savoury double tap from a light snow of grated pecorino.
Or try this...
The Private Kitchen
Just in time for the festive season, the Private Kitchen is set to overtake the third floor of the Old Rum Store on Kensington Street from December. Like the rest of the Kensington Street district, the Private Kitchen is impressive, combining the original design of the building with floor-to-ceiling glass windows and a wrap-around balcony. With a seated capacity of 100 or 120 standing, the restaurant will cater exclusively for events and functions and is the perfect place to celebrate Christmas, say goodbye to the working year, or raise a glass to 2017.
The site will feature a roster of big-name chefs, starting with Stanley Wong, formerly of Hong Kong’s Mandarin Oriental Hotel and Spice Market in New York. For seated events, Wong has designed two set menu options featuring elegant flavours with an Asian bent. The five-course menu is $55 a head, while the seven-course menu will set you back $88pp. Expect starters such as scallop carpaccio with nashi and toasted hazelnuts or seared hamachi served with bacon dashi. For the main event, you’ll find the likes of crab risotto with fennel pollen or a spice-encrusted New York strip loin with endive and snap peas. For standing functions, canapes come at $5 a pop and also draw heavily from Asia. Think chicken larb tacos, smoked duck with kumquat glaze and matcha coconut cream cups. The bar within the Private Kitchen will take care of all your imbibes.
Considering there’s a minimum spend of $1,500 for lunch and $2,000 for dinner bookings, it’s a case of the more, the merrier here. Lvl 3, The Old Rum Store, Kensington St, Chippendale 2008. Available for lunch and dinner bookings seven days from December 8. Email email@example.com.