Last night, I stayed at The Old Clare Hotel with my partner for Valentine’s Day. Having previously dined at Automata and attended the launch party of Kensington Street Social, I was very excited to explore the rest of their hotel. The hotel opened last year, after a huge restoration and renovation of the old County Clare Hotel and Carlton United Brewery.
We stayed in a Connell Room, which amazingly is their standard room; although nothing is standard about The Old Clare Hotel. Even the lamps, walls and busy door signs are different. The room is large with high ceilings, vintage designer furniture and an enormous bed (or ‘super king’ as they call it). The ensuite bathroom is enclosed in glass with 2 sinks and a giant rain shower.
After checking in, we decided to check out the Rooftop Pool & Bar. My partner had a cold beer, whilst I enjoyed a swim. I use the word ‘swim’ loosely as it was a busy Sunday afternoon, so it’s pretty hard to do laps. Nonetheless, it was refreshing on a hot, summer’s day and has great views of the neighbourhood. If you are looking for a different kind of venue it is open until 10pm and available to hire for private events.
Whilst walking around Chippendale, we stumbled across Koi Dessert Bar, where we shared a delicious cake (albeit a very expensive one at $15!). I’m looking forward to enjoying their full degustation (includes 3 desserts) soon, which is much better value at $77 for 6 courses.
After refreshing up in our room, we decided to try our luck at Kensington Street Social (KSS) for dinner. We hadn’t booked, as originally we had planned to get room service (which is provided by KSS anyway) but the menu wasn’t as extensive so we turned up at KSS just before it opened at 6pm and crossed our fingers. It being Valentine’s Day, we knew it was a long shot. Amazingly when we mentioned we were staying in the hotel, they found us a table. The Maitre D said it was their last table, and sure enough, all of the others soon filled up.
Having been to their launch party, I was keen to try dishes that I hadn’t had already and luckily my partner is very amenable as they recommend sharing. They suggested 2-4 dishes per couple and to be honest, 2 would not even touch the sides. Four is the perfect amount. We shared the Tongue ‘n’ Cheek Croquettes (there are 3, so not ideal for sharing), Paroo Kangaroo with soured sweet potato, cider poached pear, wattle seed and land cress, Wagyu rib eye with miso butterscotch, eggplant, sprouting broccoli, and Chocolate and peanut bar with caramel and banana ice cream Chocolate and peanut bar, caramel and banana ice cream.
All of the food was upto the standard you would expect from a restaurant owned by a Michelin-starred chef, and the service was impeccable. It was so good that we went back there this morning for breakfast – I had Mushrooms on Rye with house Jersey milk ricotta. And then it was back to reality and a 15-minute taxi ride home.