Merivale, famed UK chef to open Hotel CBD pop-up

29 March, 2018 by Vanessa Cavasinni

Merivale has revealed that it will be opening Little Bistro, a pop-up restaurant on the first floor of Hotel CBD, in collaboration with renowned British chef Alastair Little.

Nicknamed the ‘Godfather of Modern British Cooking’, the chef has been in working in kitchens since 1965, beginning in the Old Compton Wine Bar in Soho. Credited with revolutionising the modern restaurant offering in Britain, Little began replacing the formal and grand dining rooms of the UK with minimalist décor and more exciting fare.

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An illustrious career

Little opened his first restaurant, 192 Kensington Park Rd, in 1983 where he met fellow chefs Rowley Leigh and Simon Hopkinson. The three began a friendship and partnership that shaped British dining with an ethos of flexible menus and an emphasis on produce and seasonality.

The self-taught chef then opened two restaurants bearing his name in 1985 and 1996 where he cooked to critical acclaim for almost two decades. He left the restaurants in 2002 to open Tavola in West London, a take-away and tableware store.

This latest chapter in his career brings him to Sydney with a roughly six-month pop-up in partnership with Merivale.

Little Bistro

Little Bistro will open in Hotel CBD on April 23, and will run until late 2018. The British chef is very excited to be partnering with the Sydney hospitality behemoth on the venture.

“Working with Merivale is a dream proposition for me. With the support of the group, the staff in place and the venue ready to go, I get the chance to take Sydney by storm, or at least a small section of it, and can focus on what I love most – creating and evolving recipes, and working closely with the people I teach to cook them.”

The short menu at Little Bistro will focus on some of the chef’s classics, with some new dishes for good measure. The food offering will include smaller dishes like ‘pepata of mussels, cooked in white wine, chilli and garlic’ and ‘autumn vegetable minestrone with porcini, new season’s oil and Parmigiano Reggiano’, alongside mains like ‘roast crown of duck with an apple, potato and rosemary galette, frisee salad’ and ‘vegetable tagine with cous-cous and a chermoula relish’.

Little describes his cooking style as “fuss-free” and is thrilled by the prospect of cooking Australia. What most excites him about Australian dining is “the sheer vitality and irreverence of it. Nothing is impossible nothing is too hard. Fusion food that is not confusion food.”

“There is no solemnity about Australian restaurants, no hushed temples of gastronomy just enjoyment, often raucous enjoyment. This lack of prejudice and preconception appeals greatly to me”.

Merivale has had great success with pop-ups of late, with Mr Liquor’s Dirty Italian Disco – a collaboration with Sydney chefs Mike Eggert and Jemma Whiteman in the drive-through bottle shop space of Tennyson Hotel – being a hit on the Sydney dining scene. Mr Liquor’s Dirty Italian Disco is set to close in the next few weeks after a six-month run.