Sydney restaurants where deals are made and peace is brokered

Originally published by The Daily Telegraph, 8 March 2020

There really is no such thing as a free lunch. Annette Sharp reveals the 12 Sydney restaurants that have played a key role in some of the high stakes business deals and peace talks.
For millennia, warring factions have resolved conflict by breaking bread together.

Ancient military generals did it, early Christians did it, Bill Gates and Steve Jobs did it, modern bureaucrats and business executives do it every day.

Simply put, a good meal is good business strategy.

It’s the same in Sydney today, where business mergers and takeovers seem to be taking place on the hour, where politicians and media powerbrokers are locked in hostile reputation-battering exchanges, and old kings and queens are clutching at the threads of legacy.

With so much at stake, the last thing one needs with one’s peace talks is a bad oyster or a warm Bellini.

SADDLES, MT WHITE

The Powerbroker: Investor and former radio boss John Singleton, budding arts patron, and American country music legend Kris Kristofferson

Date: October 2019

The Occasion: After a difficult year, during which he saw his hoped for Macquarie Media sale hopes swindle from $100 million to around $80 mill, larrikin adman turned businessman and restaurateur Singleton moved into new territory when he pulled out his cheque book and enticed American country music legend Kris Kristofferson to perform at his new Central Coast restaurant, Saddles. Earlier in the year Saddles picked up a coveted award in Condé Nast Traveler magazine Most Beautiful Restaurants In The World gongs, so he had a couple of thing to celebrate. “Singo”, who spends most of his time at his Mt White stud these days, was in need of a posh canteen at which to entertain business associates travelling to him. As a sort of unofficial opening, he splashed some money around in October and invited his best mates to his rustic themed but comfortably decked out eatery.

The Clientele: Harvey Norman/Domayne owners Gerry Harvey and Katie Page, Hungry Jacks’ billionaire Jack Cowin, veteran league star Tom Raudonikis, Olympian Dawn Fraser, broadcaster Ray Hadley and media executives treated to a raspy set of 83-year-old Kristofferson’s hits including Me and Bobby McGee over a Monday lunch.

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