This article first appeared on est Living
Image credit: Felix Forest
Spanning various private dining rooms, a cocktail bar, a main dining room, and an external courtyard with main bar, the 180-seat Park House Food Merchants was designed to embody all the welcoming warmth of a well-loved home. Conceived as a loft-style artist’s warehouse, Alexander & Co augmented and exposed the existing steel and timber structure, revealing a double-story void under a retractable roof, illuminated by custom high-bay pendants. In doing this, the building’s bones are revealed, shedding the site’s structural weight while paying homage to its architectural DNA.
Brickwork gives a solid integrity to the interiors, playing out on white washed walls and archways as well as in the foundations of the exposed central kitchen. Coupled with exposed timber beams, Carrara mosaic tiles and polished concrete, the materiality of Park House embodies warmth, character and honesty. It’s a refreshing rebuke of the sleek patinas of most modern-day eateries, and a sympathetic reflection of the retro 1970s, coastal-motel aesthetic of the site’s past life.
Serving up fare befitting of the space - a nostalgic, sun-drenched road-trip through Mexican, Mediterranean and Middle-Eastern flavours - Park House delivers a menu that reflects the generous proportions of the space. Luscious Fremantle octopus or 12 hour brisket can be ordered alongside delicate dishes such as burrata with pickled onion and basil oil, or the popular Applewood smoked labneh. These are dishes designed to be feasted on in the warm, salt-laden air of a Sydney summer.
But it’s in the thoughtful and curated interior decor that Park House truly shines. Taking a sustainable and mindful approach, Alexander & Co took the opportunity to relinquish all superfluous fit-out materials in favour of allowing a highly curated artwork and furniture selection to dress the space. Combining custom hardwood pieces, leather banquettes and reclaimed light fittings, Park House has a distinctively ‘found’ aesthetic that marries Scandinavian modernism with all the sophisticated quirk of a New York City loft. Muted, abstract artwork is placed seemingly at random, reflecting the apparent haphazard placement of Persian rugs that anchor communal tables and mismatched chairs. It’s no accident, though. Park House is as curated as an art gallery and no less intriguing.