If this year's winter has you dreaming of sunny Italian coastal holidays, then perhaps a visit to The Alcott is your answer.

The new bar and eatery in Sydney's northern suburbs serves a modern Mediterranean-inspired menu and has a dedicated spritz bar and a sunlit terrace. It may not be Capri, but this new Lane Cove venue is channelling Italy’s Amalfi Coast.

Working the shiny new charcoal grill that promises to add char to much of the menu is former Sake and Est chef Richard Slarp.

“I just want to bring it back to good cooking,” he says. “I don’t want bells and whistles. I just want a good piece of fish on the plate, well cooked. It’s about getting the best ingredients possible, treating them well, and doing them justice.”

Although Slarp’s Sake credentials see him (and the menu) slant toward seafood, it’s not only pescatarians that will find something to love.

Crisp, deboned chicken, twice-cooked lamb ribs, and smoky chargrilled eggplant deliver big flavour. And the whole chargrilled calamari is a showstopper.

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“The whole thing is up to 40-centimetres long,” Slarp says. “I marinate it, grill it whole then slice it up.”

The burger is a two-hander made with double Angus beef patties and bacon jam. Those after a snack can opt for the dips (served with chargrilled Turkish bread), chargrilled baby octopus, fried cauliflower and other shareable Mediterranean dishes.

The venue, owned by North Sydney Leagues Club, underwent a massive renovation, closing in March and only opening this week. It operates as a club, so you’ll need to sign in if you’re not a member. But Slarp insists there are no tired club tropes here.

“It’s a completely different mentality,” he says. “There is no schnitzel. People deserve more than that.”

It’s a growing Sydney trend; clubs across town are upping their game, food- and design-wise. The Northern Beaches just saw the results of a $200 million makeover of the Harbord Diggers club. Nu Bambu opened in the Canterbury-Hurlstone Park RSL earlier this year. And the Wests Ashfield Leagues Club has The Garden. District 8 is at the Cabra-Vale Diggers Club.

Pony Design Co. is behind the fit-out here. It’s incorporated a timber-lined, plant-filled garden, which is in keeping with the other green spaces it created for The Fernery Mosman, Acre in Camperdown and The Greens North Sydney. The word “alcott” means “old cottage” and refers to the fact this venue was built on the foundation of a sandstone cottage. That theme has permeated the design.

At the Spritz Bar there are seasonal cocktails garnished with herbs, fruits and flowers, and natural light floods in from a sunny terrace. DJs and live acoustic music provide the soundtrack.

The Alcott
1 Birdwood Avenue, Lane Cove
(02) 9428 5155

Hours:
Mon to Thu 12–2.30pm, 5–9pm
Fri 12–2.30pm, 5–10pm
Sat 11am–10pm
Sun 11am–9pm

thealcott.com.au

This article first appeared on Broadsheet on July 20, 2018. Menu items may have changed since publication.