Restaurant News

Now open: Merivale's three new venues at Sydney’s Coogee Pavilion

The blockbuster beachside spot welcomes a seafood restaurant, a cocktail bar and a tapas joint, with two Peter Doyle-mentees leading the charge.

By Yvonne C Lam
Mimi's at the Coogee Pavilion.
Merivale doesn't do things by halves. For the Sydney hospitality juggernaut it's on-brand to announce projects in ambitious clusters, located within a single Merivale fun-park of food, drink and good times.
In June, they unveiled plans for four new venues as part of its Ivy precinct expansion in the CBD, including Bar Totti's, which opened this week. Now the group is raising the curtain on the middle floor of the Coogee Pavilion, home to a trio of new bars and restaurants.
Executive chef Jordan Toft will oversee seafood restaurant Mimi's, cocktail bar Will's and tapas joint Una Más, in addition to the ground-floor and rooftop dining options at the beachside blockbuster. The project has been years in the making, with the middle level originally slated for a 2015 launch.
"It's not like I sat around and did nothing in between – there were other projects in the pipeline," he says, citing Bert's and Bar Topa. "But once we actually unravelled the project and considered the building, we saw a responsibility to get it done right."
Merivale executive chef Jordan Toft. Photo: Steven Woodburn
The MImi's menu is seafood-focused, with many dishes landing on the charcoal grill in the open kitchen. "It's beyond open – it's basically in the dining room," he says. If the soft openings are any indication, the skewers of black-lip abalone with pancetta are destined for must-order status, while the roasted spanner crab is dressed tableside, with preserved-lemon mayonnaise, coral sauce and a lemon half thoughtfully wrapped in muslin.
Will's, the attached bar, is the stop-off for sncaks and "serious cocktails", says Toft. There's serious pedigree behind the cocktail list which has been compiled by Ben Wainwright (Bert's, Charlie Parker's) and Luke Ashton, who recently closed his much-loved Sydney bar This Must Be The Place.
Tapas and wine bar Una Más – which translates to "one more" in Spanish – is a casual, flexible venue for diners to grab a quick bite or linger for hours, with Toft focusing on a food and drink offering that pulls from his years living on Spain's Balearic Islands. Seafood, again, receives a starring role – you'll find small plates of pipis, sardines and scarlet prawns on the menu, before it returns to sea with lamb tomahawks, sirloins and a dish of pig's head and fennel flower.
In true Merivale fashion, the new projects keep it in the family. Mimi's and Will's take their name from CEO Justin Hemmes's parents – William was John Hemmes's original birth name, while Mimi's was his nickname for wife Merivale Hemmes – while the company's designer department counts Bettina Hemmes, Justin's sister, in its team.
Plus the Coogee Pavilion's mid-level welcomes Est's Jacob Davey as its head chef (the Merivale fine-dining restaurant closed in late December). Davey and Toft have both worked closely with chef Peter Doyle, who ran Est's kitchen from 2003–2018.
Small worlds and big projects – it's the Merivale way.
Mimi's, Will's and Una Más are now open.
Mimi's open Mon-Thu noon-3pm, 6.30pm-10pm.
Will's open Sun-Thu noon-midnight, Fri-Sat noon-2am.
Una Más open Sun-Thu noon-midnight, Fri-Sat noon-2am.
Coogee Pavilion, 169 Dolphin St, Coogee, NSW
merivale.com