In Sydney restaurant news, there's movement all over the Merivale station: Sailor's Thai opened, springing up in the spot Teppanyaki used to reside; Jeremy Strode of Bistrode is heading towards the light of Bistro CBD; chefs Lauren Murdoch, Dan Hong and Simun Dragicevich all have new projects; there's a small bar opening in the Ivy complex; and they've bought The Beresford pub in Surry Hills, the kitchen of which will be driven by Mad Cow's Christopher Whitehead.
The bar at The Beresford, Bourke Street, Surry Hills
After all that, it's no wonder they wanted to chuck an all-booze-and-food free-for-all party to welcome the newest venue. All the slick charms of the previous iteration of The Beresford are intact (minus the high end dining of Danny Russo), attracting the usual lively Surry Hills bohemia and a cavalcade of suits who must have made the surprisingly close trek (or taxi ride) from the CBD.
There's no forgetting that the Merivale guys know how (and like) to throw a party. On a rainy Thursday night, the crowd starts with a drizzle, progressing to a shower within 30 minutes and pouring in by 7pm. And on offer, a completely open bar, cocktails by Merivale mixologist Mikey Enright, Italian-leaning finger foods and one hell of a beer garden.
I can't say I saw a cocktail list, but these were the two on offer on the relaunch night. On the left, the High Roller included pineapple juice, surely some vodka or other, coriander and was importantly, on easy, constant supply from my position seated at the bar. The Ghetto Blaster included rum, passionfruit, lemon and oh - can I have another one of these tall ones?
Food trays did a pretty good job of getting around the venue and soaking up the free booze, and while I have no photos (you hold a martini glass, grab food and take photos!), I can vouch for lots of yummy tidbits including: a crunchy bruschetta of ripe tomato and basil; sweet and earthy mushroom slices on polenta squares; glorious tomato-ey and cheesey arancini; boxes of orrecchiette with anchovies and herbs; and slivers of crunchy, thin-based pizza.
Flitting from bar to kitchen to the warming roast of the outdoor heaters; I can already see a touch of the Ivy's seemingly magic dust settle at The Beresford. If this launch night is anything to go by (if even half of these patrons come back), The Beresford looks to be back with a bang.
The Beresford front bar