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Jordan Toft

Jordan Toft

Jordan Toft, the Australian chef who made a name for himself at The Eveleigh in Los Angeles, makes his proper Sydney début on the rooftop at Merivale's Coogee Pavilion, which opens later this month.

Toft, who moved back to Australia this year, has been doing the hard yards in the venue's ground floor dining room alongside head chef Zac Sykes, but will now get to showcase an eastern Mediterranean-inspired menu in a kitchen of his own.

Where downstairs is more of a straight all-day eating area, the rooftop will be tailored to the drinking crowd, with four indoor and outdoor bars serving a list of summer-friendly drinks designed by Merivale's group bar manager Paul Mant. The food, Toft says, is designed to be quick, full of flavour and to "pair really well with the vibe and the cocktails".

The idea is that everything can be ordered as a snack or as part of a larger mezze experience. Most of the dishes - take, for example, charred octopus tentacle with dried harissa, haloumi wrapped in vine leaves, and whole baby squid dressed in an ink vinaigrette - will come off the custom-built charcoal grill, accompanied by toum, the Lebanese garlic sauce, and the option of sides such as washed onion with sumac and charred long red chillies, and cracked young cucumbers marinated in garlic, hot mint oil and whey.

"What does everyone want when they have a few drinks? They want a bit of a kebab," Toft says, "so it's our take on that."

The ground level has been packing in the crowds since opening in July, serving an average of 4000 guests every weekend.

The rooftop is the second of the venue's three dining spaces to open - the third, slated to be "a more focused restaurant, extremely driven by produce and the origin of that produce, with a really simplistic flair on the plate", opens next year.

Coogee Pavilion, 169 Dolphin St, Coogee, NSW, (02) 9240 3000

Looking for more Sydney dining options? Check out our list of the best restaurants in Sydney.

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