Mr Liquor’s Dirty Italian Disco is set to open Friday 20 October. The six-month collaboration between Merivale and Sydney chefs Mike Eggert and Jemma Whiteman is located in the drive-in bottle shop of The Tennyson Hotel and will serve up American-style Italian.
Eggert and Whiteman have created a menu of bruschetta, pasta and wood-roasted meats, with dishes set to change regularly. “We went with the classic trio of bread/pasta, cheese and meat,” says Whiteman. “That’s going to be the strong nucleus of how this restaurant’s going to fall in line because, to us, that’s what makes Italian food — simple, uncomplicated, rustic.”
The menu has been created with the duo’s signature twists and techniques firmly at the forefront. “We’ve been really inspired by the red sauce joints of New York,” says Eggert. “We’ll be pushing ourselves to get to their quality, but it’ll have our essence, our touches. There’ll be a little bit of seaweed here and there, a little bit of soy sauce. It’s our take on the red sauce joint.”
Chicken liver parfait with sweet onion and chive, beef tongue with confit tomato and crispy garlic and meat loaf with dill pickle start the menu followed by a selection of bruschetta: anchovy and tomato; octopus, potato and mint; pumpkin, lardo and chili; peas, beans and stracciatella and raw veal, whipped tuna with bitter greens.
Pappardelle verde and fusilli with lamb ragu feature as the pasta dishes alongside seafood and meats cooked on the grill such as whole arrow squid with parsley and lemon, porchetta with charred scallion and 500g bistecca with mustard and parmesan.
Keeping in with the original bottle shop experience, guests will be able to buy their own alcohol from the walk-in fridge, before ordering at the counter and dining in the 90-seat drive-way eatery.
Franck Moreau has curated the selection of over 150 wines with a focus on boutique, craft and organic wines and unusual varieties. There will also be bottled classic aperitifs and digestifs, seasonal cocktails with kitchen ingredients, carefully selected amari and homemade cellos.
Sydney tattooist Rick Vaughn, aka Four Eyes, has created bespoke illustrations for the pop-up, working closely with architect Kelvin Ho. Vaugh has applied his designs to the walls, tables, menus and uniforms of the eatery, bringing food and the logo’s disco pig to life throughout the space.
Merivale acquired Tennyson Hotel in December 2016. The pub itself will operate as normal, with no immediate plans for a major refurbishment.