These days, when a fine dining institution announces a temporary closure and a 'refresh', it usually means they're ditching the white tablecloths in exchange for more accessible, casual fare. Rockpool Est. 1989 just did it, reopening as Eleven Bridge last week (although, admittedly, the word 'casual' is used subjectively), Bennelong took things down a notch last year, and in February Sepia announced they'll be closing and moving onto a more casual venture when their lease runs out next year. But that won't be the case with Matt Moran's ARIA, which was this morning revealed to be closing for a mammoth ten-week refurbishment.
In announcing that his harbourside restaurant will be shutting up shop for ten weeks from this Sunday, August 21, Moran has assured punters that he won't be pulling away from fine dining. In fact, he'll be doing just the opposite. "When we opened ARIA just before the Sydney Olympics, we made sure we had a design that was contemporary, cutting edge and would last." said Moran. "We won't be moving away from fine dining at all, if anything, we'll be upping the ante."
What will be changing though is the interiors. Moran and co-owner Bruce Solomon have brought interior architect George Livissianis — responsible for the black and white cake icing interiors of the newly-renovated Dolphin Hotel, as well as other institutions like Cho Cho San and Apollo — on board for the revamp. He'll be fitting the 170-seat venue out with a new colour palette, new furniture, bespoke plate and glassware and work from local artists and ceramicists.
Moran has also reassured diners that the harbour, bridge and Sydney Opera House will still take centre stage — so those who like a dramatic Sydney view with their fine dining dinner will not be left in the lurch. The restaurant should be back up and running in early November.