With a rooftop garden terrace with views stretching across North Head, the Harbour and CBD skyline; a gin and a rosé bar, The Fernery looks set to become one of the lower north shore’s hottest drinking and dining destinations this summer.
The 360-person venue – spread across a wrap-around terracotta-tiled outdoor terrace and an inside dining and bar space – is the latest venture by John Tully and Luke Heard, the team behind Camperdown’s Acre Eatery and The Greens in North Sydney. They bring their signature style, working again with Adrian Baiada, who helped set up Pocket City Farms, an urban farm that shares space with Acre. Using European ferneries as a muse, Baiada used fern species from the Mosman area, as well as other exotic plants, to create a verdant landscaped garden. Pony Design Co. is behind the design and uses neutrals, blushing pinks and soft grey accents to make the large venue feel intimate.
Situated above the Mosman Club, The Fernery could not be any more different than the club below. The rosé bar – which seats more than 60 people and has a retractable roof –takes centre stage and serves rosé (obviously) and a small selection of mostly Australian wine, alongside rosé and gin cocktails. Teusner Salsa Rosé is available exclusively on tap too. The gin lounge inside has cosy nooks, where ferns and wicker room-dividers give a greenhouse feel to the light-filled space.
Head chefs Gavin Gray and Mitchell Davis drew on the location and space to inspire the menu. There’s also a kitchen garden they can use, adding to dishes ingredients such as lemon balm, a variety of basils, Vietnamese mint, chocolate mint, and lavender.
“Most dishes are gluten-free, not by design, but because the ingredients are all clean, natural and simple,” says Davis. “We avoid fried foods as much as possible – as a departure from pub food, and because it fits the experience of being here.”
Salads are a visual feast – like the rosé-infused watermelon salad; or the roasted heirloom beetroot salad with edamame, walnuts and chive flowers from the garden. Mains, such as the Josper-grilled kingfish and the wagyu burger, feature flavours and textures only possible in the Josper oven – a hybrid of a grill and wood-fired oven. The Josper-baked camembert with smoked honey, shaved walnuts and fruit toast is perfect for sharing; add a jug of Fernery Punch – vodka, aperol, pineapple and lime juice. For dessert, try the gold-tipped Bombe Alaska, crowned with flowers and filled with passionfruit curd and lemon sorbet.