Having run The Newport since March 2016, Merivale decided it was about time to add something new to the sprawling northern beaches venue. And so, in early 2018, it opened Bert's, a brasserie and bar brimming with oysters and lobster.
As we've come to expect from Merivale, Bert's hasn't done anything by halves. Getting its inspiration from the 1930s — when hotel dining rooms were grand destinations — the restaurant will be an extravaganza of jade green and coral pink, with an open kitchen as its centrepiece.
The menu, sorted out by executive chef Jordan Toft, aims to transport you to some fancy European seaside resort. Look out for a dedicated raw bar, crowded with oysters, mud crab and brioche canapés, and a larder loaded with charcuterie and salads. Among the decadent mains are lobster (straight from the tank, mind you), a few steaks and a whole fish, baked in a charcoal oven or cooked over the grill.
"We want to create that sense of relaxed indulgence you experience on a coastal European holiday — to capture the feeling when you decide to order the fresh lobster or relax into the afternoon with champagne and oysters," said Toft.
Walking in, you won't be able to miss the cellar of 750 wines, put together by master sommelier Franck Moreau. Its contents include a selection of European drops, an array of rose (including Jeroboam), plenty of Aussie classics and a bunch of left-field bottles from creative labels, such as Lucy Margaux 'Wildman' and Patrick Sullivan 'Windy Cottage'. Meanwhile, Sam Egerton and his team will be hard at work in the cocktail bar, mixing new versions of old classics using seasonal produce. Egerton's favourite is a take on the Royale, with vodka, ginger cordial, Champagne and finger lime caviar.
Needless to say, Bert's comes with gob-smacking views, of both The Newport's expansive outdoor area and stunning sparkling Pittwater. This isn't Merivale's only northern beaches venue, either — the group is set to open The Collaroy (which it bought in August last year) nearby very soon.