New restaurant coasting
IT hasn’t taken long for Bright’s newest restaurant to get a taste of business in the bustling tourist town.
After a soft opening on February 27, it’s been full-on for the team at Elm Dining who have moved into what was formerly Simone’s Restaurant.
For owners David and Natalie Featherston it’s their second restaurant venture having relocated from the New South Wales Central Coast where they operated a waterfront venue called Yum Yum.
“We had a thriving business in Hardy’s Bay between Sydney and Newcastle but after 10 years I wouldn’t say we were still heaps passionate about what we were doing,” David said.
“After that long it’s hard to keep reinventing yourself and staying fresh and particularly for myself I needed a change.
“We came down here last August and fell in love with the place.”
Having previously focused on seafood and Japanese influenced dishes David and Natalie along with their head chef Jack Hoye have embraced a menu of contemporary Australian cuisine.
Their fine dining experience also fills a void in the Bright’s food and beverage offering with many venues moving towards more casual eating.
“We did our research and spoke to a lot of people and found there was a lack of places where you could go and sit down and enjoy a longer dinner with a mains option,” Natalie said.
“We’ve created a menu that is really versatile which includes your more traditional style dining of entries, mains and deserts as well as degustation options.
“I think the thing we’re most excited about is utilising so much locally grown produce.
“Being able to drive five minutes in either direction and have access to fresh fruit and other suppliers has never been part of our experience before.”
Despite taking over the building which was home to Bright’s most iconic restaurant for more than 30 years, David said there was no pressure to live up to a reputation created by Patrizia Simone.
“There’s going to be people who are massive Simone’s fans and nothing you do will ever compare, but we’ve had nothing but positive feedback so far,” David said.
“We’ve had a lot of ex-Simone’s customers come in and people are just excited the building is open again.
“I think the fact it was closed for 12-18 months before we took over was a good thing.”
BY JUSTIN JENVEY