Southbank, Melbourne 3006
(03) 9292 8888 or http://crownmelbourne.com.au/
Crown Melbourne has relaunched its premium buffet restaurant, Conservatory. Located on level one of Crown Towers, the luxurious restaurant features expansive views of Melbourne’s Yarra River.
Lead by Conservatory’s Chef de Cuisine, Joanne Bainbridge, the restaurant’s chefs work from an open kitchen that enables interaction between chefs and guests. Guests can watch chefs cook, see their choice of piping hot naan made right before their eyes or order a roast just the way they like it.
The dessert station is arguably Melbourne’s best. Conservatory’s dedicated pastry chefs are on hand to prepare servings of frozen teppan ice cream, slice cakes and thread fruit skewers to order.
Why open kitchen-style dining? For buffet devotees, diners cite many reasons for opting to dine this way. Explanations vary from seeing what there is to eat, knowing how much a meal costs in advance, setting the pace of either a leisurely or quick meal, being able to try dozens of dishes over the course of a meal and even being able to have second servings of favourite dishes.
“Conservatory is truly innovative and new. It’s unlike anywhere else in Melbourne. Crown has made a multi-million dollar investment to ensure that Conservatory is absolutely the best it can be, from the custom-made theatre-style kitchen to a commitment to use only the best possible ingredients,” says Crown Melbourne’s Executive General Manager, Food and Beverage, Nicolas Kurban.
“We have a dozen chefs working during each meal service. What’s more is that new dishes are constantly being placed on the buffet throughout each meal. This not only keeps things interesting for our guests, it keeps it exciting for our chefs too,” adds Kurban.
Conservatory’s Chef de Cuisine Joanne Bainbridge has over two decades worth of experience and has developed menus that will appeal to hotel guests, large groups, families, fussy eaters and gourmands alike.
Conservatory also includes an intimate bar and offers afternoon tea served in the Conservatory’s lounge area, overlooking the black marble atrium. Children between the ages of 4 and 11 are able to dine for half of adult prices at breakfast, lunch and dinner. Boasting design by leading Sydney-based architect and interior designer, Blainey North, Conservatory hopes to make guests feel like they have been instantly transported to London, Shanghai or New York during an era when craftsmanship and materials were revered and buildings and interiors were designed to endure and built to last.
There are four distinct areas in which to dine at the 190 seat Conservatory, including a small collection of tables assembled close to the antipasto, seafood, salad and cheese selections, an intimate area near the bar and two larger dining areas. White marble floors, bespoke chandeliers, a distinctive woven timber ceiling, custom-made carpets, generous chairs and tables, solid, locally made steel screens and dramatic reflective surfaces combine to create an engaging space in which to dine.The restaurant is flanked at either end with floor to ceiling mirrors, which teamed with double-height windows overlooking the Yarra River create a natural light-filled and spacious environment. Conservatory predominantly features a palette of green and stark white. In the open-plan kitchen custom-made spice jars hang on walls and hundreds of red mosaic tiles inspired by Victorian fenestration are used to theatrical effect.
“Conservatory is reminiscent of English conservatories and references Georgian grandeur and Art Deco detailing. By employing traditional craftsmanship techniques, such as the marble panel detailing used on the restaurant’s pillars, we’ve aimed to create a sense of timeless permanence and make guests feel comfortable,” says Blainey North. “By adopting century-old techniques set in a modern context, such as the use of traditional fluted details on the bar or the restaurant’s solid metal screens, along with the repetitive use of a soft arch formation, it’s a true mix of French-Deco industria and old world decadence. I’m particularly fond of the chairs, they’re largely influenced by luxury sports cars and feature Armani Casa fabric in red, gold or green with white leather perforated with tiny pin dots,” she continues.
“It’s the first time we’ve experimented with translating a graphic form and making it into a repetitive architectural detail. The inter-secting arch motif features on everything from the chandeliers to the chairs, tables and wall hangings,” adds North.