Tony Bilson, one of the fathers of Modern Australian cooking, burst back on to the Sydney scene in a blaze of glory with this smart George Freedman-designed room and the most modern kitchen in town. This restaurant was one of "le palais de haute cuisine" in town, at the forefront of a movement veering towards France.
Launching a new restaurant with loud fanfare is a high-risk strategy that sets exceptionally high expectations, especially when the venue is positioned as an icon site.
Such was the ploy of SydneyÂ¹s restaurateur chef Tony Bilson & ex-hotelier Ted Wright at Ampersand, a slick chic "diner" atop the agressively promoted Cockle Bay Darling Harbour development. With shipwright nautical design overtones and an understated livery of cappuccino and beige, it feels like a liner berthed.
Clever lighting, seating on two tiers, chocolate truffle and white stripey carpet all contribute to a sense of elegance and calm attention. Not so pampered are those in the back stalls whose snug side-by-side tables-for-two are aligned to face the room and the view. Ampersand offers a flawless experience at an international level in a luxurious and sophisticated environment.