The launch of garden conservatory, Alala’s, featuring a terrace under the dappled shade of the 80-year-old oak tree, marks the final stage of The Oaks multi-million-dollar upgrade.
The biggest redevelopment in The Oaks 133-year history, Alala’s is connected to a new cellar door bottle shop and takeaway concept, also launching simultaneously. It follows the launch of Taffy’s sports bar in September to complete the redevelopment.
The new bar and eatery is an ode to craftmanship reminiscent of a country homestead, with a central cast iron oven filling the air with aromas of roasted vegetables, meats and baked bread like focaccia.
Taking residence along Ben Boyd back street with a direct access to the garden, Alala’s celebrates the strong feminine lineage of The Oaks’ family owners, particularly late-matriarch Alala Thomas. Alala was the mother of David ‘Taffy’ Thomas, who bought the Oaks Hotel in 1975, and he remembers her as a formidable publican in her own right.
Taffy’s son, her grandson and third generation publican of The Oaks, Andrew Thomas said the new space was inspired by this impressive and modern woman of her time
“We’ve always been great at catering for blokes, but we needed to expand our offering and transform this space into something a little more elegant that will cater to a more discerning crowd. We therefore focused on details that really matter such as handcrafted cocktails, commissioned artwork, maximising the natural light within the venue and providing a visual connection to our beloved oak tree.
The light timber furniture joins a colour palette inspired by the dappled sunlight of the oak tree including leafy greens, soft blues and apricot tones giving a seamless transition from indoor to outdoor. Spilling outside into a terrace with café furniture and a light canvas awning, barista coffee and indulgent pastries will be served in the mornings.
The Head Chef, Julian Nikiel, a former protégé of Mike McEnearney (Kitchen by Mike), draws from his experience in the kitchen and travels overseas to deliver a menu that champions seasonality with fresh, local produce plated delicately and designed for sharing.
Adjacent to Alala’s and connected by a discreet passageway, the new Oaks Bottle Shop and Takeaway is headed by a craft beer curator and features a communal tasting table that invites guests to ‘try before you buy’ fresh from the tap. Regular ‘tasting nights’ will showcase rare and hard-to-find craft beer, hosted by the craft beer curator.
Inspired by a 1940’s milk bar, a rotisserie will serve up hot roast rolls such as ‘pork belly porchetta with salsa verde’ and ‘spiced cauliflower with pumpkin hummus, harissa and rockette’ until 1am.
Evening commuters can also grab on-the-go dinners including whole rotisserie chickens, homemade sauces, crunchy rosemary potatoes with garlic and fresh salads.
The trio of new venues mark the completion of an upgrade that’s been under development for nearly 12 months. The new-look Oaks’ is part of the Thomas Group Hotels portfolio which includes the Winston Hills Hotel in Western Sydney and the Entrance Hotel in the Central Coast.
Photo credit: “Madeleine Ryan, Papaya” https://www.papayapr.com.au/