Neil Perry pulls out of haute cuisine; Eleven Bridge to close

Eleven Bridge's partridge topped with a dashi broth

Eleven Bridge's partridge topped with a dashi broth

Eleven Bridge, Neil Perry's fine-diner in the Sydney CBD, will carve its last partridge on May 13. The restaurant wasn't part of the merger Perry made with the Urban Purveyor Group last year, which involved his Rockpool Bar & Grill, Rosetta and Spice Temple eateries, but when Eleven Bridge reopens in June as a high-end Chinese restaurant, it will be as part of the newly formed Rockpool Dining Group. Chef Phil Wood, meanwhile, plans to leave the company.

It's the latest chapter in what has been one of the more tumultuous stories in Australian restaurants. Despite positive reviews, Eleven Bridge has lasted less than 12 months, and was itself a retooling of the original Rockpool flagship after Perry relocated the restaurant to Bridge Street in 2013 from its original site at The Rocks where - stay with us - it had also briefly been rebranded as Rockpool (Fish) in 2007 after it had been eclipsed by the runaway success of its sister restaurant, Rockpool Bar & Grill. 

Wood says he's "excited, nervous and a bit sad all at once" about the decision, but says that he leaves the Eleven Bridge counting Perry as a friend, and is and proud of their achievements. "I couldn't be happier with what I've done over the last eight years, but now it's time to look at the eight years to come." He says work overseas is a possibility, but for the moment he's keeping his options open.

Phil Wood (left) and Neil Perry at Eleven Bridge.

By Perry's admission, Eleven Bridge was a passion project and struggled to make money. When he and his new partners were scouting sites for a new Cantonese restaurant, the Bridge Street premises, he says, seemed a natural choice.

The as-yet unnamed project will open following a $500,000 refurbishment, with Eleven Bridge sous chef Peter Robertson heading the kitchen. Perry, whose Spice Temple brand specialises in the schools of Chinese cooking beyond Cantonese, says he's keen to immerse himself afresh in one of his favourite cuisines. He also brushes off questions about the wisdom of opening a high-end Cantonese restaurant on the same block as Mr Wong, Sydney's most successful high-end Cantonese restaurant. 

"You wouldn't think twice about it in Chinatown," he says. "I think Sydney probably has room for four or five more great high-end Chinese restaurants anyway."

He's also surprisingly stoic about leaving haute cuisine, even as he acknowledges a "massive end to an era, after 28 years". Plans are afoot for Phil Wood's send-off. In the meantime, the restaurant will serve a greatest hits menu in the lead-up to its closure. And what of the signature chicken wings with kombu butter? "I'm sure they'll follow Phil wherever he chooses to go," says Perry. "We'll have wings here, though they're probably going to be spicier."

Eleven Bridge, 11 Bridge St, Sydney, NSW (02) 9252 1888, rockpool.com

 


Newsletter

Sign up to receive the latest food, travel and dining news direct from Gourmet Traveller headquarters.

Latest news
KingFish opens, sampling poke, hip-hop and matcha treats
07.09.2017
Bridge Bon Appetit, the latest addition to Hubert, opens tonight
06.09.2017
Get to know Orana, Australia's Restaurant of the Year 2018
25.08.2017
Melbourne is now home to a Champagne vending machine
11.08.2017
Is Kisume’s new upstairs menu Melbourne’s most luxurious degustation?
03.08.2017
On the Pass: Fatuma Tikuye, Blue Nile
24.07.2017
GT
Signature Collection

Find out more about the Gourmet Traveller Signature Collection by Robert Gordon Australia, including where to buy it in store and online.

Read More
Recipe collections

Looking for fresh dinner ideas? Not sure how to make the most out of seasonal produce? Or do you need to plan the perfect party menu? Our recipe collections have you covered.

See more

You might also like...

Australian chefs to follow on Instagram in 2013

There are a lot of food shots on Instagram: the good, the ba...

Where our chefs want to eat

We asked Australia's leading chefs to name the restaurants t...

Hot 100 2015 - Restaurant news

The world is getting hotter and we’re not talking about glob...

What the hell is Gelinaz anyway, and why is it shuffling?

On the eve of the second outing of one of the world’s strang...

Nahm named best restaurant in Asia

The 2014 50 Best Restaurants in Asia were unveiled this week...

Restaurants cooking with seaweed

With its complexity in flavour and texture, seaweed is the c...

On the pass

Tell us about Tomahawk’s menu, Ali...

S.Pellegrino Young Chef 2015

A mighty fine plate of beef short ribs with roast celery vin...

Dan Barber talks sustainable food

Farm-to-table is a neat catchcry but, argues Dan Barber, one...

Alessandro Pavoni, Ormeggio, Sydney

You’ve just released your first cookbook, a tribute to Lomba...

The 2016 GT Restaurant Guide Top 100

Here's the list of our 2016 Restaurant Guide Top 100. How ma...

First look: 108 at Noma, Copenhagen

Rene Redzepi may be headed to Sydney next month, but he's ba...

Dear Sainte Eloise to open in Potts Point

Sydney’s new wine bar is going back to basics.

Party-starting playlists

Music is a key ingredient that can turn your party from good...

Grant Achatz interview

Pat Nourse talks to the chef of Chicago’s Alinea ahead of hi...