Located on Oxford Street in Sydney’s Paddington, Fred’s and Charlie Parker’s are the latest offering from the seemingly inexhaustible Merivale team (seriously, do they ever sleep?), and this time, the venue’s head chef was very involved in the design process. And with a beautiful open kitchen the centrepiece of the space, it’s easy to understand why.
“The head chef isn’t usually involved in the design process but when you’re talking about open kitchens, it’s a good idea to have chef involvement so that design doesn’t over take the function and purpose of a commercial kitchen,” says Danielle Alvarez, whose favourite aspect of the kitchen is its large central wooden bench. “Since the kitchen is in the middle of the room, I had to be a part of the whole process. It was fascinating to work with such talented designers,” says Danielle, who worked on the project with the Merivale design team.
Located upstairs, Fred’s is the restaurant while Charlie Parker’s is the bar below – the overall design is rather Francophile with old French chateaux a key point of inspiration. “It’s inspired by a French bastide, with rich browns, dusty pinks and petrol blues. Deep, rich old world joinery blend against the grittiness of the old sandstone, bricks and peeling walls,” says Danielle of the spaces that also feature rich dark wood, leather and red veined marble tops. “Many old elements were retained including cosy little rooms and exposed original brick walls so that it doesn’t feel too new,” says Danielle.
“At Fred’s, we knew we wanted the fire to be the central focus and that good, solid, beautiful materials would be used throughout, nothing too dainty but still fine and attention paid to detail. I think for the design team this screamed old world chateau but kept light. As for Charlie Parker’s I think it needed a point of distinction and because it is a bit underground it was naturally going to be a bit darker, more hidden, more speakeasy,” says Danielle.
As for another unique design feature, Charlie Parker’s has a free-flowing underground stream that runs under it too. “Justin (Hemmes) put a glass plate over a portion of it so you can see it running, especially when it rains outside. It’s near the toilets at Charlie Parker’s which is funny but I love that they tried to highlight something that was actually so problematic during the design process.”
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