In June, Dan Wegener (formerly of Quay and Print Hall) and wife Katie opened Wine Rooms by Harvey Leigh’s, a wine bar focusing on French food and wine. Now, directly next door, their more ambitious project has opened in the old Beaufort Local site. Harvey Leigh’s Public House is a 180-seat venue intended to function as its name would suggest.
“It’s a reference to how we’re not just focused on any one part of hospitality,” says Wegener. “If you want a craft beer and a toasted sandwich, a glass of wine and a cheese plate or some perfectly cooked fish and fine elegant chardonnay, that’s available to you.”
Minor structural changes have dramatically opened the space and brought more natural light to the beer garden in the rear. An open kitchen and 12-metre-long marri timber bar top, donated by Ferguson Valley winery Talisman Wines, dominate the room. Wegener is regarded as one of the country’s best sommeliers and promises the wine selection will be anything but run-of-the-mill.
“I always err on the side of keeping people interested,” he says. “There are some recognisable brands represented but we’ll always look to challenge a little bit, asking people to come on the journey and try something they haven’t seen before.”
The rest of the drinks package includes eight craft beers on tap as well as a cocktail menu offering classics alongside a monthly themed menu (currently bitters and vermouths). Group-sized cocktail jugs will be introduced closer to summer. Breakfast and lunch is served daily with dinner available from Wednesday to Sunday. Wegener describes the food style as modern European, with Yorkshire-native chef Michael Ingham offering a “slight tip of the hat to English fare with a French tone.”
The compact menu ranges from bar snacks such as pig’s head croquettes and chicken liver parfait to classic main courses such as steak frites and moules marinières (mussels cooked in white wine). Sweet and savoury crepes form the backbone of the breakfast menu, alongside coffee from Five Senses. Wine education is also part of the Public House offering with guests able to taste brackets of four different wines.
“It’s an economical, tutored tasting,” says Wegener. “It’s about bringing people to wine. They get an educational experience whilst having a bloody good time.”
Harvey Leigh’s Public House
484 Beaufort Street, Highgate
(08) 6478 0920
Mon & Tue 8am–4pm
This article first appeared on Broadsheet on October 16, 2018. Menu items may have changed since publication.