When it’s finished, Park House Food and Liquor will be a Northern Beaches food and drink hub with a rooftop restaurant and bar, a cafe, pop-up markets, food trucks, event spaces and a brew bar, and will cater for 2000 people.
The five-part $12 million development of the former Mona Vale Hotel should take two years. Phase two, Front Yard Brews and Burgers, which as its name suggests is all about beer and burgers, just opened.
Located at the front of Park House, Front Yard has 40-odd craft beers on tap, a beer garden, a burger menu and a soundtrack of garage rock. “This venue has been really important for live music on the Northern Beaches and it’s something we’re bringing back to life through Front Yard,” says co-owner Fraser Short (The Sydney Collective), who with Arthur Laundy (both own Watsons Bay Boutique Hotel) bought the venue, along with Northies in North Cronulla, for more than $50 million in 2014. “When we saw it, we were super interested” says Short.
The first phase, the Park House Food Merchants restaurant, opened in November last year, and David Clarke, the group executive chef of The Sydney Collective, was the driving force behind its Mexican-, Mediterranean- and Middle Eastern-inspired menu. “If it doesn’t feel like you are being slapped in the face with flavour then it doesn’t go onto the Park House menu,” Clarke explains.
The impressive centrepiece is the New Zealand line-caught pink snapper, covered in a thick layer of salsa verde and then baked in the wood oven. Clarke places an emphasis on spicy, punchy and interesting flavours, “the zing and the zang” he calls it.
The cocktail menu also draws influence from Mexico and LA. There’s an exemplary grapefruit margarita and spritzes, such as the Rodriguez Bros – a blend of Solerno blood orange liqueur, rosé, blood orange juice and soda.
The 160-seat area, designed by Alexander and Co. (The Morrison, Watsons Bay Boutique Hotel), has a softer industrial feel, combining fresh white walls with exposed timber beams spaced across the ceiling. Artwork by Sydney artist Daimon Downey lines the walls. The main restaurant leads out into an open-air courtyard with several raised tables for group bookings.
The fresh tones and bright spaces reflect its Northern Beaches location, but Short also wanted to bring something unique to the site: “It has to have that feel-right-at-home thing. There’s nice, soft elements like fireplaces, lounges and cocktail areas. Why can’t it be the Alexandria of the Northern Beaches?”
But it hasn’t been all smooth sailing for The Park House so far. In November, inner west Sydney venue Pazar Food Collective accused the restaurant of replicating its menus. The Mona Vale restaurant responded by saying: “The allegations made against The Park House menu are based upon words on a menu, which might represent the ingredients of a dish, but the essence of a dish is the recipe and how the produce is sourced, handled and created with a mix of flavours making each and every.”
With such a wide range of spaces planned for the hub though, the final product is bound to be unique.
Park House Food Merchants
2 Park St, Mona Vale
Front Yard Brews & Burgers