Merivale is set to open Bert’s, an elegant yet informal brasserie and bar overlooking the pristine Pittwater estuary and expansive grounds of The Newport, in early January. Led by an impressive line-up of hospitality talent – Executive Chef Jordan Toft, Group Sommelier MS Franck Moreau and Group Bars Manager Sam Egerton – Bert’s will serve a coastal European menu in a dining room fit for an era gone by.
Whimsical and nostalgic, Bert’s is inspired by the grand hotel dining rooms of the 1930s, relaxed with the easy air of Sydney’s Northern Beaches. The impressive kitchen takes centre stage, accented by charcoal ovens and basque grills, opening up to an elegant brasserie and cocktail lounge. Its colour palette of jade green and coral pink sings throughout.
Bert’s food harks back to its environment, marrying the class of the early 20th century and frivolity of the 60s, with celebration firmly in mind. The menu is broken up into the open kitchens you see within the dining room – starting with the raw bar’s classic offerings of natural oysters, dressed crab and toasted brioche canapés followed by leaf salads and charcuterie from the larder. For mains, guests can choose lobster from the tank, a selection of beef or whole fish roasted in the charcoal oven or cooked over the basque grills, accompanied by simple preparations of vegetables. Dessert will be decadent and fun to finish the celebration in style. Notably, the menu is suited to both guests who enjoy sharing and those who prefer their own entrée, main and dessert.
“We want to create that sense of relaxed indulgence you experience on a coastal European holiday; to capture that feeling when you decide to order the fresh lobster or relax into the afternoon with champagne and oysters”, says Toft. “It is very special, yet completely fuss-free – beautiful, fresh produce, served simply and elegantly”.
Wines will be displayed in a stunning cellar at the entrance, curated with Master Sommelier Franck Moreau’s unrivalled expertise. Here, he has focused on classic Australian wines, including back vintages of Riesling, Semillon, Shiraz and Cabernet, alongside European wines and emerging and quirky labels like the Lucy Margaux ‘Wildman’ or Patrick Sullivan ‘Windy Cottage’. There will be an impressive selection of rosé, including Jeroboam bottles – the perfect accompaniment to a long lunch.
The Bert’s bar will be a destination in its own right, serving a cocktail list developed by Sam Egerton. Taking cues from grand European hotels and American country clubs, each drink represents one of the classic styles, with influence from seasonal and local produce. His pick of the list is inspired by the classic Royale, with Absolut Elyx vodka, ginger cordial and champagne, finished with finger lime caviar. The Bert’s Bar will also serve a selection of snacks from the main menu, alongside dishes of the one hand variety, like tea sandwiches.
Bert’s is the highly anticipated second phase of the venue’s landmark redevelopment. Merivale first opened the iconic venue in March 2016, bringing the property’s magnificent grounds to life with an eclectic range of spaces in which to drink and dine.
Justin Hemmes said: “The Newport has always held a very special place in the hearts of the Northern Beaches community; it is a truly magnificent site, in an incredible location. Our long-term vision for the venue is to create a destination that genuinely has something for everyone – all occasions, ages, budgets and tastes.
“We opened the outdoor area first to provide a vibrant gathering place where friends and families can get together over a beer and a casual bite to eat. Now with the launch of Bert’s, we can also offer a special experience for those wanting that little something extra. Outstanding food and exceptional service in a beautiful setting – but still very comfortable and relaxed”.
Created by Merivale’s design team of Justin and Bettina Hemmes, Akin Creative’s Kelvin Ho and stylist Amanda Talbot, Bert’s is set to open in early January. Details on the exact open date will be announced soon.
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Originally a fashion house, Merivale, owned by the Hemmes family, has been established in Australia for 60 years. The Hemmes family are developing and operating pioneers within the hospitality industry, owning a portfolio of more than 60 restaurants, bars, pubs, hotels and function spaces in Sydney. Justin Hemmes is the Chief Executive Officer of Merivale.