Interview: Barangaroo House

Sitting proudly by the water at Barangaroo in Sydney, Barangaroo House is an eye-catching building housing three levels of restaurants and bars. The design of Barangaroo House is a result of multiple teams of architects and interior designers, coming together to passionately create what can now be considered one of Sydney’s most iconic new venues—led by hospitality group Solotel and with a restaurant menu by Matt Moran.

As part of a new interview series in partnership with Peroni Nastro Azzurro which explores the creativity and passion behind a selection of Australia’s best contemporary venues, Softer Volumes spoke with Barangaroo House / Solotel Creative Director, Anna Solomon, and Venue Manager, Phoebe Barter. The conversation reveals what gives Barangaroo House its unique style and flair and the creative concepts behind the venue’s design, menu and overall experience.

How would you describe the architecture of Barangaroo House? What inspired the design?

AS: The architecture of Barangaroo House is the result of a design excellence competition, with architects Collins and Turner designing the building. The design is inspired by three giant bowls stacked unevenly on top of one other. The building stands out due to its three-dimensional, curved timber façade. Concentric timber dowels have been individually steam bent into shape and charred using a Japanese technique called shou sugi ban. The curved design creates a free-flowing space around the building and welcomes visitors from all directions. The balconies that wrap around the upper floors are surrounded by raised planters.

What do the three different levels of the venue offer and what’s the atmosphere like on each?

PB: Barangaroo House is a three-level hive, buzzing day and night, with each level offering its own drink and dine adventure. House Bar is the casual waterside bar on the ground level where chilled escapism and sunny vibes are the order of the day—a go-to for laid-back weekend sessions, cold beers with friends or after-work debriefs. You’ll find BEA on level one serving fuss-free food, world-class wines and simple, classic cocktails. With a spacious outdoor deck and indoor banquettes, diners settle in here for leisurely lunches and drawn-out dinners. Smoke is our rooftop bar with a seamless flow from inside to out—a great spot for dates or cocktail fuelled catch-ups.

What are some of the interior design features and materials that help give the venue its unique flair? 

AS: The interior combines a rich material palette with both charred and natural timber taking centre stage and working in harmony. A spiral staircase acts as the spine of the building, featuring soft yet striking lighting, with artwork lining the hallways. The soft, dark leather seating and wooden tables of BEA are contrasted by the beautiful marble bar and stone finishes of Smoke. House Bar’s light-filled space with frameless glazing provides an uninterrupted connection between inside and out, allowing guests to enjoy panoramic views of the harbour. The planters and gardens on the balconies grow native flowers, herbs, vegetables, and fruit which can be used in the restaurant.

What inspired the menu at BEA?

PB: The menu at BEA is inspired by the location of Barangaroo House where the land meets the sea. Simple dishes are dictated by the seasons and the best Australian produce available. Our kitchen team work their magic on our wood-fired grill using local ingredients.

What are some of the stand-out dishes or creative ingredients?

PB: Steak & Eggs is a current showstopper—a spin on beef tartare. It features avruga caviar and sourdough crisps. Charred Tasmanian octopus is another firm favourite dressed with a nduja vinaigrette and anchovy—punchy and delicious. There’s also a particularly beautiful cured kingfish dish, complemented by finger lime, avocado, tobiko, kaffir.

What’s the best time of day to visit House Bar for the quintessential experience and best vibe? 

PB: Definitely golden hour. Arrive in the late afternoon and move into the evening with a cold beer or rosé in hand as you watch the world go by.

What’s the view like from the rooftop at Smoke?

PB: Smoke is a perfect perch overlooking the glistening harbour, especially when the sun is setting, with boats slowly cruising by. Across the water, there are views of the Harbourside suburbs of Pyrmont and Balmain.

What’s planned for the upcoming summer at Barangaroo House?

PB: We’ve just introduced lawn drinking and dining at House Bar which brings you even closer to the water. We’re also partnering with Peroni to launch Sydney House of Peroni—a three-month activation celebrating local artists, fashion, music and more.

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