Sydney’s going through a phase of food-culture decentralisation. There have always been great places to eat away from the centre, but the west and south haven’t had the same attention when it comes to new restaurants choosing a location. This is starting to change. The latest news comes from the Feros Group, which, fresh from opening Saritas, has just announced a massive development in Caringbah.
The group has been working with Humphrey and Edward’s architect Chris Grinham (Chiswick, Opera Bar) on four sections across three floors. The bottom floor, which will open next month, will be split between Ugly Pizza, a by-the-slice pizza restaurant, and a sports bar, Huxley’s. Chris Feros, the group’s CEO, says to imagine Ugly Pizza as something in the mould of Pizza East or Pizza Vito’s, two popular US and UK pizzerias. “Walk in and see pizza in the window by the slice,” he says. “Timber, chequered floors, you can sit at the bar with the pizza oven behind you.” The pizzas will be hand-tossed, thin-crusted and served either as 18-inch wholes or foldable takeaway slices. “The reason it's called Ugly Pizza is because Huxley's is the name of a pioneer in the shire. The Aborigines couldn't pronounce his name, so they called him Tom Ugly instead of Tom Huxley,” Feros says.
Huxley’s is the sports bar. The only way to get in will be through the fridge door in the back room of Ugly Pizza. There’ll be no signage; the only reason you’ll know to go in is because someone’s told you about it (or because you’re reading this article). From what it looks like now, expect something like Baxter Inn with less inside-a-ship-hull appeal and more sports screens. Feros says they’ll be taking the sports side seriously but, “As much as it's about the sports, it's about the atmosphere in the room.”
Select Ugly pizzas will be available at the bar at Huxley’s, but it will have its own menu based on American-diner food. “Wings; burgers; absolutely American sports bar, deep-fried shit and all the rest of it,” Feros says.
The top floor will be a massive rooftop restaurant and bar. Feros says there’ll be a retractable roof for outdoor tables, a wood-fired oven behind the bar and an ice well stacked daily with fresh seafood. “We really want people to understand that food will be a big part of what we’re doing here. Whether they get a cheese board or a cheese burger it will be good quality.” The top floor is still in development. Feros says the group is aiming for a January 2017 opening. Plans for the middle floor are unconfirmed, but Feros says it’s likely to be a classic pub.
Huxley’s and Ugly Pizza will open on December 19, 2015 at 32 Banksia Road, Caringbah.