By Joanne Rosanoski
On September 15th ‘The Star’, formerly named Star City Casino, opened its doors onto an orange carpet welcoming a plethora of Australian talent and celebrity for a launch that was spectacular enough to signify the change, from what was regarded as a tacky casino, to a new and innovative entertainment quarter in Sydney. On Tuesday 20th September the very first Industry site tour, hosted by ISES and The Star, opened the doors for the first peek of the $860M refurbishment to industry insiders, keen to take a look at the competition and what was on offer.
At first glance the most obvious change is the glass and steel walled entrance, which now overlooks directly onto Sydney Harbour and they have made sure that view is maximised by the venues within. On entering, you are welcomed by strong masculine palette, softened somewhat by features, such as the water wall and giant chandelier but the overall style is bold, strong and lacking of any femininity.
Through the entrance, you are first welcomed into the new shopping precinct, with designers such as Gucci and Chanel in prime locations to catch the eye of any lady with an itchy credit card. Up the grand staircase, past the water wall and into the main venue, a labyrinth of halls, corners and doorways awaits you as you head to your chosen restaurant for dinner.
The most eye catching of them all is Black by Ezzard, with a fully private dining room and its own “celebrity entrance” catering for up to 16 and a semi private room, overlooking the magnificent harbour seating 10 guests. Other celebrity chef restaurants on offer are Balla by Stefano Manfredi which serves delicious North Italian Cuisine, Momofuku Sei?bo by Chang, Sokyo by Chef Chase Kojima, serving fabulous fusion Japanese and coming soon, Golden Century for delectable Chinese banquets.
Then of course there are the casual dining and a range of bars, the most spectacular of which would have to be Cherry. In a prime location overlooking the Sydney Harbour, Cherry boasts only the top shelf of beverages for you to sip while lounging in your decadent rolling lounges overlooking the view – a perfect place to hide out at sunset or for that fabulous client cocktail party for up to 180 guests.
Our ISES site tour ended at Rock Lily, a vibrant music venue in the heart of the casino floor, with comfy leather bench seating and high bench tables, a great place to hang out on a Friday night after work and you never know who might be playing, last week the Potbelleez & Grinspoon were on stage but for the ISES event we had the pleasure of hearing from our host, Sid Vaikunta, Managing Director of The Star. Sid has a long history in casinos, starting out in Atlantic City, then Las Vegas before coming here to take over and relaunch The Star.
The massive overhaul has taken what was lampooned as Pyrmont RSL or an “RSL on Steroids” into a fully integrated leisure and entertainment venue, including a new 5 Star, 171 bed hotel called The Darling, with plenty more still to come in the form of an integrated concert and event venue.
So, will Sydney’s newest Star, hold up to its name? Only time will tell, but I dare to offer that it will certainly give the foodies a taste of what’s good in Pyrmont and when the entertainment centre opens I think a whole new world of events and concerts will be the thing that breathes new life into an old icon.