Just when we’d finally said goodbye to Mike Eggert and Jemma Whiteman’s six-month pop-up Good Luck Pinbone (literally yesterday), we get news the duo is back – with Merivale.
Mr Liquor’s Dirty Italian Disco – another six month pop-up – will take over a former drive-in bottle shop at The Tennyson Hotel in early October. Merivale director Justin Hemmes added the $37.5 million pub to his empire in December last year. After seeing the success of Good Luck Pinbone, he approached Eggert and Whiteman with an enticing offer.
“Once you hear Justin’s vision, it’s hard to not get excited. When he starts describing mirror balls, giant walk-in cool rooms, wood-fire ovens, crazy wild parties you think, ‘Yeah! I really want to do that,’” Eggert says.
“You would never normally look at this space and think, ‘We’re going to build a restaurant here.’ It’s almost like a massive rural, wrought iron shed at a drive-in bottle shop with a two-lane road going through the pub. It doesn’t look anything like a pub.”
What Eggert describes as a “red sauce joint” is a long way from the Chinese fine-dining, takeaway-inspired fare the duo was dishing up in Kensington. “This is what you’d eat if you were at a warehouse party. It’s what they do in Brooklyn – simple pasta on a plate and bruschetta done in the wood-fire oven, charred up over charcoal with good toppings. It’s the simple stuff.”
The menu will also feature grilled meats, from a big loin of porchetta to a whole chicken served with a wedge salad. “It’s Italian-ish,” he says.
The pub section will operate as normal, with no plans for refurbishment just yet.
Guests will be able to buy their own booze from the walk-in fridge. “It’s all on the shelf and when it’s gone, it’s gone,” Eggert says.
And was it hard saying goodbye to Pinbone? “We has so much fun and squeezed every last drop out of it, we leave happy and content. We don’t pine for anything. We have an army of fans and friends that are coming with us,” he says. That includes Pinbone’s front-of-house star Berri Eggert, who will be joining the duo at Mr Liquor.
Mr Liquor’s Dirty Italian Disco will open in October this year.