Bert’s at The Newport is self-assured. With plush banquettes; attentive barmen dressed in linen; raw bars glistening with caviar and crab; and live-lobster tanks, it’s more like London’s Scott’s, The Ivy or Cecconi’s – with their stylised swagger – than a venue common in the northern beaches. But despite its smart-casual dress code, the high-end brasserie is well-liked by locals.
Bert’s is run by the Merivale group, and it’s located on level one of The Newport, the group’s large-scale, multi-faceted outdoor venue on the shores of Pittwater, which opened in March 2016. Bert’s is like Fred’s older (and more refined) northern brother. A salmon-pink-and-olive colour scheme has been used throughout, and large glass windows bring Pittwater inside the elegant space.
Executive chef Jordan Toft (ex-Coogee Pavilion and LA’s Eveleigh) has designed a menu that channels the Mediterranean coast. Helping in the kitchen – which is fitted out with European Basque grills and charcoal ovens fired by iron bark and fruit woods – is head chef Sam Kane, previously of Guillaume at Bennelong, Bistro Moncur, Bibo Wine Bar and Four in Hand.
Any meal should begin with a visit to the oyster bar. Then turn your attention to brioche toast with caviar and butter, or handpicked mud crab with lemon mayonnaise. There’s also a daily selection of fingers of toast piled with toppings including salmon and fennel pollen and sea urchin and chicken butter. San Danielle prosciutto finds a sensible match in melon.
If you don’t want seafood, there’s Brooklyn Valley grass-fed rib eye and Rangers Valley grain-fed T-bone served with roasted aromatics. And pork rib for two with peach glaze and garlic flowers.
Seasonal vegetables and salads are served from a white-marble larder. The Avocado Bert is a dish of creamy avocado, chopped egg, tarragon, chive and chervil.
Group sommelier MS Franck Moreau has taken care of the 750-strong wine list (divided equally between Australia and Europe). Cocktails are classic and inspired by grand European hotels and American country clubs. The champagne bar has a long list by the glass, and by the bottle with prices popping between $142 and $950.