In September, Italian restaurant Romulus & Remus will close to make way for a new urban brewery, Burnley Brewing, which will open in November.
The Bridge Road restaurant’s current owner, Renton Carlyle-Taylor (also co-owner of The Alps and Milton Wine Shop), will oversee the site’s new direction, joined by new business partners Neil Mills and Phil Gijsbers. Together Mills and Gijsbers own a number of Melbourne venues (Saint James cafe, Pedro Espresso and Small Print Pizza among them) and, in New York, Seven Point Espresso.
“Neil and I bought our first cafe a decade ago, and we’ve been into beer for a long time, so this felt like a natural progression,” says Gijsbers. “We’d been looking around for a brewery, or a space that could house a brewery, and the Romulus & Remus site was just perfect for it.
“That part of Bridge Road especially is becoming independent-beer central.”
At Burnley Brewing, fermenters and Brite tanks will run floor-to-ceiling in the front window, and a 10-hectolitre, four-vessel brewhouse will be installed in the far right corner of the venue. Mills will oversee the brewing of a regular rotation of seasonal beers, which will include a range of styles such as Australian summer ales, barrel-aged Russian imperial stouts, fruited sours, US West Coast hop bombs and English cask ales.
As for food: “One of the strengths at Romulus & Remus at the moment is the food offering; the food is just cracking, so we’re pretty keen to keep it similar,” says Gijsbers. Classics, such as the pulled pork and beef lasagne, and the chorizo and pea gnocchi will stay on, although the focus will shift more to snacks and “beery food” such as pizzas.
Not only are Mills and Gijsbers keen to introduce locals to a new range of beer styles, they want to push the education angle a bit, too. All bar staff will be Cicerone certified (an industry-recognised certification in beer knowledge and service) so will really be able to talk to customers about the beers they’re drinking.
648 Bridge Road, Burnley
(03) 9429 3042