Category Archives: Neild Avenue

The “new” Neild Avenue

It’s a mammoth task to reinvent a restaurant, anyone will tell you that, but things get even trickier with a restaurant that’s in the public eye like Neild Avenue. Since it first opened, Neild Avenue has been accused of being too dark, too noisy and too expensive. So after spending three million dollars on its initial design, what has owner Robert Marchetti done about the public response? He’s changed the interior, shaken up the menu and abandoned the no-bookings policy.

Start with drink in the suave bar area

Start with drink in the suave bar area

The “new” Neild Avenue is a happier, brighter place, thanks to the adept touch of Dinosaur Designs artist Stephen Ormandy. I’m sure you’ll be relieved to know, Anthony Lister’s blurred superhero animalia remain on the front timber-framed ‘house’. Ormandy has painted a second ‘house’, which has been carefully decorated with the mod 60s shapes and bold colours synonymous with the Dinosaur Designs brand.

A long, elegant bar splits the restaurant space in two, with a suave lounge area to one side and the restaurant’s dining area to the other. A mini charcuterie counter sits at the entrance, where cured meats hang behind glass cabinets; visual reminders of Marchetti’s Italian background.

The new look is courtesy of Dinosaur Designs artist Stephen Ormandy

The new look is courtesy of Dinosaur Designs artist Stephen Ormandy

We start with a drink in the bar area. This is the perfect way to take in the unique space; perched on a soft leather lounge, dimpled beer mugs full of cold Birra Moretti in-hand. Efficient waiters, dressed completely in white, flit around the room. The bar menu puts a Mediterranean slant on your standard booze food – souvlaki mini slider buns, flashed fried calamari and sliced-to-order cured meats are substantial enough to call dinner.

The hip staff uniforms

The hip staff uniforms

The revamped restaurant menu has taken hints from sister restaurant, North Bondi Italian. There’s the “cartoccio style” crab spaghetti, baked in a bag with tomato sauce, and those light-as-a-feather arancini balls. North Bondi Italian Food may be one of my favourite restaurants, but tonight we’re here for Mediterranean food. Central to the menu is Marchetti’s stance on sustainability and simplicity. The calamari is line-caught, the lamb is milk fed, the chicken is organic and the meat is free-range. Seafood dominates much of the menu, with a range of whole fish main courses, served with bold salads such as frisee, mint, radicchio and zucchini. The coal grill takes the spotlight with various cuts of beef on offer, while the spit roast takes care of the souvlaki. Each dish is generously portioned, perfect for sharing.

Anna Lisle

Read more about Neild Avenue here 

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Restaurant Review: Neild Avenue

From the dynamic duo behind Icebergs Dining Room and North Bondi Italian, Maurice Terzini and Robert Marchetti, Neild Avenue has shaken the Sydney restaurant scene with its unique design concept by Italian-based Australian designer Carl Pickering (of Lazzarini Pickering), the Mediterranean menu (that scored a whopping 15/20 by Terry Durack) and the casual $3 million that it took to create.

Rigging systems transform the restaurant into a private dining room

Walking up Neild Avenue, Carl is right, it feels like you’re going to the theatre, not to dinner. The huge dark building gives diners little inkling as to what lies behind its shaded windows. Once inside, the first thing you notice is the height of the restaurant’s ceiling – you don’t know where to look. Despite boasting all the characteristics of an industrial warehouse – oversized wrought iron beams, dark lighting and exposed brick walls – the space is eerily intimate. A collection of leather stools and lounges create small gatherings of people while the waiters, dressed completely in white, flit around with drinks and snacks. There are also various practical elements to the restaurant, such as a huge rigging system, that dangerously looms overhead, which can drop a ready-made private function room right into the middle of the restaurant.

The flamboyant bar

A long, elegant bar splits the restaurant space in two, with the drinking area to one side and the restaurant to the other. A mini charcuterie counter sits at the entrance, where cured meats seductively hang behind glass cabinets; visual reminders that this is actually a restaurant.  The bar menu is surprisingly substantial and not outrageously priced either with coal-grilled lamb kebabs, pretzels, fish sandwiches and, for the more adventurous, raw lamb kibbe. The restaurant menu is detailed and informative with instructions for quantity sizes and also footnotes detailing unusual ingredients.

The menu is informative and detailed

Broken up into ancient soups, starters, seafood, birds and meat, a particular standout on the menu is the quinoa salad with mint and chickpeas. One also can’t go past the vine leaves stuffed with brown rice and toasted pine nuts. The coal-roasted free range organic chicken is butterflied and served with rice pilaf, chickpeas, coriander and parsley and lemon salad. The dishes are all designed for sharing, the way traditional Mediterrean should be enjoyed.

Yet after only four months of Neild Avenue’s opening, Terzini and Marchetti split paths leaving Neild Avenue advocates slightly worried. Marchetti will keep North Bondi Italian while Terzini will remain sole owner of Neild Avenue and Icebergs. An architectural and gastronomic wonder, Neild Avenue is one of Sydney’s finest assets.

Anna Lisle

Neild Avenue on Urbanspoon

Read more about Neild Avenue here

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