The words ‘chic’ and ‘car garage’ have not been familiar friends, until now, thanks to the recent opening of Automata at Sydney’s Old Clare Hotel. The new restaurant, which has opened in the midst of Chippendale’s neighborhood food renaissance marries raw, industrial style with contemporary interior design.
Inside, industrial relics of the machine age including a radial engine chandelier and surrounding aircraft piston down lights are dotted throughout. Then double height ceilings, floor to ceiling windows, an industrial style open kitchen and a modernist communal table creates a prime chef-scoping situation for the young, fashionable set that Automata seems to attract.
Chef Clayton Wells (formerly of London’s Viajante and Momofuku Seiōbo) dispels the myth that hotel restaurants suck with his reasonably priced degustation ($88 AUD for 5 courses including snacks and $55 AUD for matched wines), which comes loaded with complex flavor bombs.
Each of his radically creative concoctions is served up on an elegantly muted dish hand made by Singaporean ceramics artist Loh Lik Kian, making the vibrant colors used in Wells’ cooking sing.
A thoughtful wine list selected by sommelier Tim Watkins (previously of acclaimed Sydney restaurants Ester and Monopole) offers plenty by way of distinctive wines but with shots finding their way onto the drinks list, we get a cheeky reminder that Automata isn’t in the business of taking itself too seriously.
5 Kensington St, Chippendale NSW 2008, Australia