15/08/2013 - 12:10

Crown’s insatiable appetite for fine cuisine

15/08/2013 - 12:10

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The recent opening of a five-star Chinese restaurant won’t be the last addition to Crown’s culinary line-up.

Crown’s insatiable appetite for fine cuisine
SMOOTH AS: Crown's food and beverage director Chris Harris (R) with Silks assistant manager Ariel Chan.

The recent opening of a five-star Chinese restaurant won't be the last addition to Crown's culinary line-up.

The opening of Crown Perth’s latest high-end restaurant may be the final addition to its complement of five-star venues, but the complex isn’t satisfied with having 33 dining options.

Fresh from the opening of Silks, Crown food and beverage director Chris Harris says plans for yet more restaurants are under way.

“This (the opening of Silks) is the last opening of a premium restaurant, and I don’t want to give anything away, but watch this space,” Mr Harris told Gusto.

“There will be further development … yet to be decided in terms of what cuisine, but we have a few ideas of what we’re going to be doing next, and it won’t be anything that we’ve already got; we won’t build another Chinese restaurant (for example).”

Crown’s five-star restaurants cater to those with a hankering for Japanese, Italian, modern Australian, French and now Chinese.

The mid-tier range of restaurants similarly covers Asian and European cuisines.

“I guess what we’re trying to achieve is to have everything under one roof – everything from a Subway sandwich to beluga caviar at $250 a pop,” Mr Harris says.

Planning for the $10 million Silks Chinese restaurant began more than a year ago and included an international search for staff, two months’ testing the menu, and having centrepiece vases hand made in China.

Staff members were also sent to the Silks restaurant at Crown’s Melbourne complex for training to ensure the brand was maintained and delivered in the same way – even down to greeting guests on arrival.

Silks is the largest of all Crown Perth’s restaurants with seating for up to 240, including five private dining rooms, which Mr Harris says are imperative to cater to the cohort of Chinese gamblers.

However, he says the majority of customers booking the private rooms so far have been Perth locals and hotel guests, with the corporate sector in particular a key driver of demand.

“About 80 to 95 per cent of the people who come here are local people who just love Chinese food – it’s one of the most popular cuisines in Australia,” Mr Harris says.

As welcome as that local support may be, however, Mr Harris says it provides a challenge when creating a menu to please diners at both ends of the spectrum.

“We were very mindful that we had to also cater to the local Perth market in addition to catering to the high rollers,” he says.

The result is a menu with 78 dishes ranging in price from $18 for dim sum to $338 for a dish of abalone.

In a unique twist for a Chinese restaurant, Silks also has a walk-in wine cellar intended as a point of difference.

The restaurant sits in the site of the old Irish pub Paddy Hannan’s, neighbouring the La Vie champagne lounge, which opened in March.

La Vie was initially intended as a go-between venue where guests could enjoy a glass of bubbly before or after going to another location within Crown.

However its popularity has proved such that the venue has just been expanded, as Mr Harris it has become a destination in its own right.

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