Bert’s Barand Brasserie

The new bench­mark for liv­ing your best life in Syd­ney in­volves join­ing the café so­ci­ety lunch­ing at Bert’s in New­port.

Time Out (Sydney) - - FOOD & DRINK - By Emily Lloyd-Tait

LUNCH AT BERT’S is as close as we can ever get to ac­tu­ally liv­ing the jazz age in all its glory. There’s not a din­ing room in the city that can hold a can­dle to the soft-fo­cus beauty that Merivale have achieved in the fi­nal in­stal­ment of the New­port’s re­newal, and though we can’t af­ford the $2 mil­lion price tag on a New­port res­i­dence, an af­ter­noon of café so­ci­ety lux­ury is not as ex­pen­sive as you might think. Of course, it’s not cheap ei­ther. The whole ex­pe­ri­ence is de­signed to make you feel like a big deal. And sure, you might get asked by three dif­fer­ent peo­ple if you’ve or­dered a drink once you’ve sat down, but it’s a damn sight bet­ter than go­ing thirsty – they haven’t skimped on staffing. If you can swing it, aim for a seat that faces the vast arc of win­dows that look out over Pittwa­ter and the striped um­brel­las down in the beer gar­den be­low. From here, it’s time to de­cide just how baller you are will­ing to be to­day. Do you want oys­ters for five bucks a pop, or caviar for $295? Con­sider land­ing in the mid­dle with fancy toast sol­diers made from but­tery brioche topped with a chicken but­ter melt­ing into the bread, and car­ry­ing creamy uni on its back like roy­alty. Thank you, 1970s Aus­tralia, for the Av­o­cado Bert: a vin­tage starter of per­fect, cold slices of avo dressed in a nude-il­lu­sion lat­tice of chopped egg, chives, chervil, tar­ragon for an anise lift and a sprin­kling of dried Ja­panese chilli sea­son­ing for sur­prise heat. More than one ta­ble is splash­ing out on the whole grilled lob­ster, but the price point for things off the grill also stretches down to un­der $50 for spatch­cock, fish by the fil­let and short rib. Or you can or­der the juicy pork rib chop that serves two and hides a roasted peach puree un­der­neath those pink slices for a taste of au­tumn. The cook­ing is very clean here – chef Jor­dan Toft doesn’t go in for un­nec­es­sary flounces. A side of spinach is just heated so that it re­tains some springy leafi­ness, and a side salad of but­ter let­tuce is au na­turel save for some fresh herbs and a squeeze of lemon. Dessert is go­ing to change how you feel about ice cream cake for­ever, be­cause here the frozen slice is a layer of in­tense apri­cot and one of peach, sep­a­rated by a sweet vanilla yoghurt with just-charred meringue off to the side. If you can af­ford to eat here ev­ery day you’ll cer­tainly want to – but if you can’t, put it at the top of your spe­cial oc­ca­sion hit-list so you can live like you’re in a F Scott Fitzger­ald novel, if only for an af­ter­noon. The New­port, 2 Kalinya St, New­port 2106. 02 9114 7350. www.merivale.com.au/venues/berts. Tue-Thu, Sun noon3pm & 5.30-9.30pm; Fri, Sat noon-3pm & 5.30-10.30pm

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