Growing up on the Northern Beaches meant drinking at the Newport Arms was a rite of passage once you’d turned 18. Australia Day, Anzac Day, The Races, Christmas Eve, New Years Eve.
Although living on the opposite end of the Northern Beaches meant I’d only go up for these big events, after attending a lunch hosted by Merivale yesterday, I’d be willing to drive up every weekend after seeing just how well they’ve done up the place.
A lot of time, money and effort has clearly gone into this revamp, as they’ve transformed a place that was well worn, well loved and in all honesty, a little dingy at times into — for lack of a better word — a Hamptons-esque vibe. The space is clear, bright and airy, divided into easy-going, beautiful areas, with lush planting and comfortable seating scattered throughout.
The menu is a collaboration between several of the Merivale executive chefs and has something that caters to every taste. I’m not one for seafood, but even I thought the QLD prawns were absolutely divine. The pizza and garlic bread (also in pizza form) were delicious. The woodfired bases were the perfect balance of pillow soft and chewy. The salads, full of organic ingredients, were fresh and flavoursome, and for those who like something a little heartier, the classic cheeseburger and chicken schnitty burgers were some of the best I’ve had — and I’m someone who loves their burgers. To top the whole lunch off was The Newport tart (figs, raspberries, crème analgise and fried basil leaf) and doughnut balls (filled with various custardy centres).
I may live 40 minutes down the other end of the Beaches, but you can bet I’ll be trekking back up for a good feed — I’ll even drag some of my south-side friends up with me.
Speaking of ‘south of the bridge’ The Newport has made it easy to visit by arranging free shuttle transportation on Friday – Sunday from various pick up points. Make a day of it, catch a ferry to Manly and grab the shuttle, or if you’re feeling really cashed up, there’s always a sea plane!