Chef Matt Moran is closing Aria in Sydney for a 10-week makeover

Matt Moran and Bruce Solomon. Photo: supplied

Celebrity chef and Great Australian Bake Off judge Matt Moran is closing his Sydney fine diner, Aria, next week for a major refurbishment.

The Opera Quays restaurant first opened in 1999 and cemented Moran’s reputation as a chef, earning him two hats in the Good Food Guide. The 170 seat restaurant, with views of the Opera House and Sydney Harbour bridge, will close for 10 weeks on August 21, reopening in November.

The announcement comes just weeks after Neil Perry closed his fine diner Rockpool after 27 years, reopening it last week as the more casual 11 Bridge Street, but Moran and co-owner Bruce Solomon say they’ll be “upping the ante” rather than moving away from fine dining.

“When we opened Aria just before the Sydney Olympics, we made sure we had a design that was contemporary, cutting edge and would last. Bruce and I both feel now is the right time for a new look Aria,” Moran said.

Sydney interior designer George Livissianis, who was responsible for the looks of Potts Point restaurants and bars The Apollo, Cho Cho San and Billy Kwong, as well another 17-year veteran, Longrain in Surry Hills, will give Aria its new look. Moran says it will feature a mix of travertine, leather, bronze and wood, with work from local artists and ceramicists alongside new furniture, bespoke plates and a rebrand.

Solomon says Aria has been been busier. The revamp comes after the pair won a 10-year extension on the contract for their nearby business, Opera Bar. Moran merged his business, Morsul, which runs five restaurants, including Aria in Brisbane, Chiswick and North Bondi Fish, with Solomon’s hospitality business, Solotel, earlier this year.

The 30-year-old Solotel hospitality group now operates 26 sites, including pubs such as the Sackville, The Erko, Bridgview, Courthouse, Clock and Bank hotels. Moran’s former partner in Aria, Peter Sullivan, who used to run the service side, sold out of the business last year.

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