Sydney playwright-director Wendy Beckett is juggling two major openings. Next month she pulls the curtain up on her production of Claudel at the Sydney Opera House, while this week her reimagining of the Darling Mills site in Glebe opens its doors to the public.
A co-production with chef Jeff Schroeter, the kitchen veteran has ceded top billing to his business partner. The restaurant is called Beckett’s.
And what happens when an acclaimed theatre director and a chef get their hands on one of the inner-west’s most iconic restaurant sites? They call in the set designers, of course.
The former home to Darling Mills restaurant certainly has plenty of theatre. Its fabrics and muted tones are designed for it to shine best at night, Schroeter says. There is even a baby grand piano.
“There’s so much sandstone and brick in here, the set designer wanted to tone the room down,” Schroeter says.
He might not have his name above the door, but the former Bistro Moncur chef is leading the charge at Beckett’s, a throwback to mid-century Manhattan, with a little Parisian brasserie thrown into the mix. The menu nods to Sydney’s cuisine of the moment, French, with Schroeter stressing he’ll add a few Italian and even German touches.
His vanilla lobster is on the well-scripted opening menu, as is wagyu rump with pommes dauphinoise, and Glacier 51 toothfish cheeks with mussel and clam chowder sauce. In a nod to the produce pioneering Darling Mills (it had its own farm), Schroeter is sourcing limited supply duck, which finds its way to the plate with rhubarb.
Schroeter and Beckett, who met through their children’s school, are both inner-west locals. “I was looking at a site in the city and Wendy wasn’t interested. This came up, she spotted it, there’s a real sense of wanting to do something here in Glebe,” he says.
Open Wed-Sun dinner.
134A Glebe Point Road, Glebe, 02 9566 2167