The Newport’s prime waterfront position has made it a northern beaches go-to drinking and dining destination for decades. When it opened in the 1880s it was known as Newport Hotel, then The Newport Arms.
Executive chef Sebastien Lutaud describes the space as having “a food-festival feel”. Each area has its own look. There’s Vinnie’s Pizzeria, overlooking Pittwater; The Kiosk; and The Shack. “We’ve designed it to be accessible for everyone – for kids, for families,” says Lutaud. “We want people to come in the morning and have coffee, then stay for lunch and have oysters, then later, if you’ve had a few drinks you can grab a burger.”
Contributions to the menu have been made by a handful of standout Merivale chefs, from Dan Hong to Patrick Friesen. “I’m excited to see what the winners will be with locals,” says Lutaud.
The Kiosk serves platters. Options include hot smoked salmon, rotisserie chicken and Ranger’s Valley brisket. The Shack will offer burgers and fish and chips. It will also have salads such as chicken with roasted pumpkin with cavolo nero (a loose-leaf Tuscan cabbage) and green-soba-noodle salad with smoked prawns.
Convenience is at the centre of The Newport’s design, but in a fun way. There’s no table service. Rather, diners can use The Newport’s app. It allows you to order from your seat, so there’s no order-and-pay-at-the-counter queues. You can also use the app to order and pay for car valet, available on weekends. When you’re ready to leave, call your car via the app. You’re then given an approximate wait time, then a pick-up time.
The design team – which includes Justin and Bettina Hemmes, Kelvin Ho and Emilie Delalande of Akin Creative, and stylist Amanda Talbot – drew on influences such as the Mediterranean, Montauk, and the Hamptons. Certain touches come from The Coogee Pavilion, such as the giant-sized games area with ping-pong, badminton and a magnetic Scrabble board. For those who can’t do without their mobile, or for kids who need to burn off some steam, there are exercise bikes that double as phone chargers. Due to the scale of the space, the redevelopment will be revealed gradually; stages two and three will open later this year.