The acquisition of Crown Resorts by US investment giant Blackstone has created plenty of speculation about the future direction of its sprawling Australian restaurant portfolio.
Down on the streets of Barangaroo, many of the contracts are still in the early stages at the newish Crown property, but that hasn’t stopped the chatter. Blackstone has previously had close ties in the US with – among others – chef David Chang, who last year closed his Momofuku Seiobo at The Star.
One man already on the hop from Crown is Sebastian Tan, the executive chef at Silks, which Good Food reviewer Terry Durack recently scored an impressive 15/20.
Tan has jumped to Jinja, a Cantonese restaurant opening on August 3 in Sydney’s technology hub. “Sebastian joined us last week,” says Jinja general manager Mirza Baig.
A quick peek at Jinja’s opening menu reveals Tan’s signature lobster sang choy bao – or at least a version of it – has ridden across the Harbour Bridge with him.
Jinja sits in The Governor Hotel, sited in an austere business park, Macquarie Park.
Architects Archebiosis have created a luxe interior of Oriental wallpaper, chocolate-coloured parquetry and botanical-patterned carpet that’s a step up for the area.
“We’re close to the metro station and the university,” Baig explains. The setting also brings Jinja close to a north shore audience primed for a new Cantonese offering.
The restaurant team has runs on the board. Baig held management roles with Merivale, and cooking alongside Tan is Kushal Lama, a graduate of the kitchens of global brands Hakkasan and Yauatcha.
The menu hops from wagyu fried rice to duck pancakes and honey-glazed Kurobuta pork. “Sesame prawn brioche will be on the menu,” Baig adds.
There’s also a cocktail program themed after the Eight Immortals from Chinese mythology. The restaurant is named after a Chinese-Australian model, who features in paintings by artist Ronnie Samuels, which figure prominently at the venue.
Open Wed-Sun noon-2pm, Wed-Sat 5pm-10pm.
Level 1, 9 Waterloo Road, Macquarie Park, jinja.com.au