Kiln, the restaurant on the 18th floor of Surry Hills’ glistening new Ace Hotel Sydney, will serve its first Mike Bennie cocktail and Mitch Orr-crafted coral trout with pistachio sauce on October 4, with bookings finally opening Tuesday, September 27.

One of the most eagerly anticipated restaurant openings of 2022, the Fiona Lynch Office design features the warm golden glow of polished plaster, flecked walls, two giant Thunderbirds-scale retracting roofs, and a smattering of high-end accoutrements, including leather-topped tables.

Sydneysiders don’t always get excited by hotel restaurants, so why all the fuss over the 108-seat eatery at this US hotel import? “I think that’s a big part of Ace’s DNA; F&B [food and beverage] has always shared equal footing,” Kiln chef Mitch Orr explains.

Eggplant, rib-eye and oyster mushrooms.
Eggplant, rib-eye and oyster mushrooms. Photo: Nikki To

“Ace is about community and restaurants are some of the best communal touch points we have. It’s great to see that being pushed, as it hasn’t been a part of Sydney dining, with the odd exception like Glass. It’s great to see other Sydney hotels looking to up their game as well.”

A peek at Orr’s opening menu shows plenty of dishes from Kiln’s wood-burning grill, including Snowflake mushroom and a grilled scallop with preserved lemon butter.

Marron with desert lime also edges onto a menu that has a finale of corn ice-cream with popcorn and salted caramel.

Oyster tartlet and Jatz snacks.
Oyster tartlet and Jatz snacks. Photo: Nikki To

The ingredients sweep Japan, Korea and Italy, Orr describing it as contemporary Australian “inspired by flavours from all over”. 

“I don’t think a three-course meal has been the standard for quite a while. Everything is designed to share on our menu,” the chef says.

“It’s the way we like to cook and eat, creating interaction and breaking down pretension in the dining room.

“We want to see a variety of dishes on the table with guests getting to experience as much of the menu as possible. It’s a choose-your-own-adventure, allowing you to eat the way you want.” 

Orr’s better-known pasta dishes from his ACME restaurant days are not on the menu, but his famous plays on the Jatz cracker do appear. Did he think the humble Jatz would ever become a signature?

“I did not, but I’m happy that it’s become a touch point and a bit of a giggle. It’s a play on the high-low, which is something I love to bring into my cooking,” says Orr.

Mitch Orr says his famous plays on the Jatz cracker is a play on the high-low concept.
Mitch Orr says his famous plays on the Jatz cracker is a play on the high-low concept. Photo: Nikki To

“The version at Kiln [is topped with] a butter that’s smoked using the wood from the grill, and is topped with a baller Olasagasti anchovy.” 

Open Tue-Sun dinner (weekend brunch to follow).

47-53 Wentworth Avenue, Sydney,