The old Mill Hill Hotel on Oxford Street in Bondi Junction is no more. In its place is a new residential development and, opening on the ground floor this week, new food-focused pub The Mill. It’s the latest launch from the Kospetas family’s hospitality group, Universal Hotels, which oversees other popular Sydney venues including 1821, the Civic Hotel, The Standard Bowl and Universal.
“The area was lacking an upmarket gastropub,” Universal CEO Harris Kospetas tells Broadsheet. “We came to Bondi Junction with the hopes of offering it something new, something fresh.”
The original pub, which stood on the corner of Oxford and Denison streets since the early 1900s, has been demolished; the reimagined venue sits beneath a flash new block of apartments. Kospetas says the aim for the refreshed pub was to bring “restaurant-quality food at pub prices” to the area. The group has enlisted chef Vaughan Chapman (ex-Marvan Hotels) to create an Aussie pub menu that’s tied together with Asian and Italian influences.
On the pub-staples end of the menu you’ll find chicken, beef and Beyond burgers; herb-crusted chicken schnitzels; fish and chips; and salt-and-pepper squid. For a restaurant-style meal, there’s the hearty duck-ragu pie, made in a cast-iron skillet and served with creamy mashed potato; an Alaskan-crab and prawn pasta; and Rangers Valley Scotch fillets served with truffle mash. The recent delivery of a pizza oven means from next week there’ll be a range of classic pies, such as margherita and pepperoni.
Kospetas says the venue is taking advantage of the fact that, thanks to improving technology, cocktails on-tap are more drinkable now than ever before, with Espresso Martinis and Porn Star Martinis both coming directly from the faucet. There’s also a selection of signature cocktails, including The Mill Martini (vodka, Lillet Blanc, vanilla, cranberry and lime) and the Passion of the Junction (Absolut Vanilla, Licor 43, passionfruit, grapefruit). Local and international brews (including Young Henrys, Kirin and Little Creatures) are also on tap.
In designing the new space, Universal did its bit to retain the history of the building, salvaging an old brick wall with The Mill Hill signage painted on it. The rest of the venue is slick and modern, with dark wooden furniture and exposed bricks imparting a restaurant-like ambience.