Walking inside the Treehouse Hotel in North Sydney is like wandering into a confused dream. Che Guevara nudges Marlon Brando and Audrey Hepburn. There is a gargoyle, a piano, a wrought-iron gate, a popcorn vending machine, an empty birdcage and a garden gnome. Postmodern meets baroque meets art deco meets retro meets kitsch meets vintage, and they all go around the mulberry bush (and come falling down)
“We are like the secret garden in the heart of North Sydney’s corporate jungle,” says the hotel manager. “When we were setting the place up, each staff member was sent out to bring in a piece of decoration or furniture that they fancied from auctions all over.” That explains the whimsical nature of the décor, which almost serves as a microcosm for our mass media saturated times. Outside, the patio is awash with primary colours – striped deck cushions and vibrant umbrellas – a drastic departure from the chesterfield sofas and velour drapes inside. But despite the inconsistency of aesthetics, all in all, it’s a fun and quirky addition to the bar empire of Andrew Utiger (also behind The Arthouse Hotel opposite the QVB and Alberts Bar in North Sydney).
There is an earnest attempt to engage and entertain the customers, with live music nights, an experiment with showing indie movies (now discontinued), wine dinners where leading wine-makers celebrate the launch of their signature brews, and even a ‘piglet and magnum feast’ that can be won in a lucky draw by filling out their comments card (the manager is nonplussed when I ask him what if a Muslim wins the draw).
We were here for a weekend brunch with some friends, and the vibe is very different to my earlier visit here with my mums group about a year back on a weekday. Back then we crouched around awkwardly with our multitude of prams and breastfed sheepishly amongst the corporate suits that throng the place during office hours.
On this gorgeous Saturday morning though, the place is fairly empty and the mood is relaxed and family-friendly. We are served in a affable manner, and order an assortment of brekkies and a brunch option for Rayyan’s friend KB.
Service is swift, coffee is nice and the food doesn’t disappoint either. BK’s eggs benedict with salmon are a really buttery indulgence. The serving size of my fritters is huge, with a nicely tangy accompanying salsa.
KB’s mom is served a luscious looking museli, while his dad has some scrambled eggs. Poor KB tries to stave us off as we all periodically attack the crunchy thick-cut chips with his fish, that comes with a really nice tartate sauce filled with chunky capers.
If you make a booking at the Treehouse, you might become part of its memorabilia, as every piece of brown paper that is for writing down the reservation particulars is then strung on a thread fluttering in the windows.THE TREEHOUSE
60 Miller Street,
North Sydney, 2060 Tel : (02) 8458 8980
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Opening timings: Mon-Friday: 7am-late Saturday: 8am-late Sunday Private functions only