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Merivale to open Berts at The Newport

Justin Hemmes’ Merivale empire just keeps expanding with plans to open Bert’s, a modern brasserie and bar located at The Newport.

The food and drinks venue overlooking Pittwater is scheduled to open in January next year.

While it’s all under the same roof, Bert’s will be very different from The Newport’s family-friendly, “food festival” atmosphere.

Over at the bar, people can choose oysters, dressed crab and toasted-brioche canapes. And then over at the tank, guests can pluck live lobsters.

Cocktails will be served with caviar and the place has open kitchens lined with shiny charcoal ovens and grills. It will also serve the classic Royale cocktail, which is basically vodka, ginger cordial and champagne and finished with finger lime and caviar.

As for the wine cellar, it will feature classic Australian wines, including back vintages of riesling, semillon, shiraz and cabernet. These will be shelved beside European varietals and emerging, quirky labels.

It will be as much a cocktail lounge as it is a quality restaurant, drawing its inspiration from grand European hotels and American country clubs.

Hemmes has recruited a team comprising executive chef Jordan Toft (formerly of the Coogee Pavilion and LA’s Eveleigh), group sommelier Franck Moreau and bar manager Sam Egerton.

“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,” Toft told Broadsheet.

Hemmes sees Bert’s as something that will appeal to a broad market and different tastes.

“Our long-term vision for the venue is to create a destination that genuinely has something for everyone – all occasions, ages, budgets and tastes,” Hemmes told Broadsheet. “We opened the outdoor area first [in 2016] 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.”

by Leon Gettler, December 6th 2017