Just in time for summer, Sydney welcomed a new rooftop bar and restaurant in the form of Moroccan-inspired Kasbah. The venue opened on September 25, alongside renovated 17-room The Strand Hotel and the property’s basement restaurant Strand Bistrothèque.
“We wanted to inject a new energy into The Strand,” says Clayton Wells, Group Creative Culinary Director at Public, the ground behind the two venues and hotel.
“For Strand Bistrothèque, we’re bringing back late nights, live music, moodier settings with twists more fitting for Darlinghust in 2023. Upstairs at Kasbah, we have an oasis with stunning views overlooking Darlinghurst — completely unique for Sydney.”
Kasbah has a Mediterranean look and feel, with Balaeric music. It’ll serve French Moroccan-inspired small grazing plates, which can be enjoyed on the rooftop’s vintage lounges. Highlights include Yellowfin Tuna Crudo with piquillo peppers and lemon vinaigrette, Spiced Tiger Prawns with ginger, turmeric and coriander and Duck, Pistachio and Burnt Honey Pastilla.
The cocktail menu was designed by the Maybe Sammy team, with drinks like Ficus, a blend of gin, fig and ginger, The Silk Road, a vodka with coffee liquor, and Sultan Sour, a rum, sultanas and cashew orgeat creation. The cocktails will sit alongside a concise menu of natural wines, mostly sparkling, white and rosé.
“The food is also a combination of my own cooking style of traditional French techniques and a nose-to-tail approach,” says Head Chef Leigh McDivitt. “I believe in sourcing sensational Australian produce from local farms. When you find the quality produce that our farmers are passionate about sharing, you need very little interference from chefs to make the dish sing.”
Strand Bistrothèque, meanwhile, won’t stray too far from its original concept when it opened in March 2022: a laidback French bistro. Dish highlights include Whole Roasted Yellow Belly Flounder, Gruyere Cheese Souffle and Chicken Liver Parfait Éclair.
Wells worked with Public Design Studio and the group’s Projects Managing Director Tom de Plater to add texture, artwork and carpet to Strand Bistrothèque‘s space. It also now includes a glossy, reflective black ceiling. Kasbah’s design, on the other hand, draws on Marrakesh pastel tones in its tiles and Persian rugs.
“There’s a certain relaxing feeling in The Strand that also invokes a sense of mystique,” says Wells.
“William Street is the artery leading to Kings Cross and the CBD, so The Strand could be the start, middle or end of your night,” says Wells. “The Strand Hotel honours the high energy, diverse and thumping suburb, and our dining concepts were reintroduced to reflect this.”
Public Group collaborated with StudioAM/PM to curate the music program. The venues host live jazz on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday nights and later-night live music on Saturdays. DJs will spin on the weekends at Kasbah.
Wells suggests starting your evening at The Strand with a cocktail on the rooftop at Kasbah at sunset before heading downstairs for dinner at Strand Bistrothèque.
“At Kasbah, we’ve created a more lounge-y experience, where you can spend hours instead of minutes and watch the sun go down,” says Wells. “We sourced pre-loved materials, and there’s really no bad corner on a sunny day with a cocktail.”