Perry Hill, owner/chef of Palate at the Gallery, the new eatery next to Lismore Regional Gallery.
Perry Hill, owner/chef of Palate at the Gallery, the new eatery next to Lismore Regional Gallery. Jacklyn Wagner

Perry's ready to reopen

FOLLOWING a lengthy tendering process, award-winning executive chef Perry Hill and his partner Sally Lewington are excited about setting up and opening the newly branded Palate at the Gallery restaurant, formerly the Left Bank Cafe, in Lismore.

They hope to open their doors on or around December 10.

Mr Hill returned to the Northern Rivers, where he spent his first 10 years, and settled at Tuckombil with Sally and their children Jackson, 2, and Archer, 4, two years ago.

"Palate at the Gallery is a play on words, and you could say, with another pun, that I was 'drawn' to set up next to an art gallery," Mr Hill said.

The original tender by Mr Hill was upscaled in the negotiation process with Lismore City Council.

He will now be paying market rates for the prize location next to Spinks Park and the Regional Art Gallery: $20,000 for the first two years, and for the third and fourth years, $20,000 plus the rise in the consumer price index for those years.

"It was a long process," Mr Hill said.

"We first showed interest in April and we've been through some hurdles.

"I think it (the tendering process) shows our commitment to seeing it through. Council could have made other choices.

"Now our lease is at market value, which is great for us, for the regional art gallery and for the dining public."

Mr Hill recently featured as one of the region's top chefs selected to prepare the Sample Gala Dinner for 150 guests as part of the Northern Rivers Sample Food Festival held at the Byron at Byron Resort.

With a history that includes working at The Boathouse at Blackwater Bay in Sydney ("it was highly awarded in my time there") and London's River Cafe ("a well-known breeding ground for young Aussie chefs"), Mr Hill loves the connection with the Lismore Regional Gallery next door.

He has tailored his opening hours to dovetail with the gallery's and looks forward to hosting some of its social events.

"There was art and great cooking in my family - my mother was a painter and my parents had food stalls at local markets," he told The Northern Star yesterday.

"Palate at the Gallery will be presenting contemporary Mediterranean Australian cuisine, with a daily menu that will be in constant evolution.

"It will be approachable, regional food, not too fancy, and strong on value for money.

"People will be able to choose anything from a coffee and snack to a beautiful bottle of champagne and a main meal.

"Part of the joy of cooking and living in the Lismore region is being able to go direct to the source and deal with growers of fresh seasonal produce directly.

"My vision is to create nourishing, honest food from impeccable produce."

Lismore Regional Gallery director Brett Adlington said he was delighted that a chef with exceptional experience had identified the art gallery cafe as a desirable location to establish a signature restaurant.

"This is a great result that is going to have a real impact on the ongoing revitalisation of the CBD and Lismore's growing appeal as a destination city," he said.

Palate will be open six days a week, closing on Mondays, and open for dinner from Thursday to Saturday.

"I'll be here all the time," Mr Hill said. "It's my passion."

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