Last year the NSW Government announced the century-old Elizabeth Bay Marina would receive a major facelift, increasing the number of berths – available for private rental– from nine to 13. The redesign will also mean better access for kayaks and paddleboards.
After a rigorous tender process to find a new waterside cafe operator - which saw residents rally for the return of the Bird and Bear Boathouse (a well-loved eatery that traded on the pier in 2014) - the state government has finally selected a winning candidate.
"I can't wait to open my next cafe. It's been a year since I sold Heritage Coffee Brewers and to have a new space in a thriving, vibrant suburb as well as the one of the most enviable locations in Sydney. I feel very lucky," says Carter.
The Lookout's simple brunch menu will feature "modern Australian" classics, with a twist. There's corn hotcakes with berries and yoghurt ganache; corn fritters piled with bacon, avocado, tomato jam and poached eggs; a noodle bowl with miso carrots, roasted broccoli, soba noodles and sesame avocado; a smoked-chicken roll; and a fish burger with panko-crumbed flathead, crushed peas and tartare sauce - all served with bay views.
"More than 70 inquiries were made by those considering leasing the cafe premises. The operator of the cafe has experience running an award-winning cafe in Sydney," says a spokesperson from Roads and Maritime Services of the final decision.
Specialty coffee will come in designer cups from Melbourne's Claystone Pottery, while the beans will be supplied by Sydney favourites Mecca and Sample Coffee. "We're importing filter coffee from a roasting friend of mine in the UK every week," says Carter.
"There's no liquor licence at the moment, but it's something Roads and Maritime Services are happy to look into in the future. The process of the development was done through the public, we had to listen to what the local community wanted," says Carter.
Celebrating the past, while also moving forward, the furniture will be custom-made by Porter and Maple, repurposing wood from the old marina.
"I want this cafe to be first and foremost for the community. I've always run cafes in the suburbs and it's the friendships you forge with regular customers that make the day enjoyable. I'll listen to what they say and our cafe will become a reflection of what they want," says Carter.
The Elizabeth Bay Marina upgrade is due to be completed later this month. The Lookout cafe will open on March 15.
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