The restaurant turf war raging at Bondi Pavilion over the past 18 months has finally been settled, with Waverley Council making its choice after an exhaustive tender process that culled some of the biggest names in Sydney hospitality.
The restaurant site at the landmark building, which is undergoing a massive restoration, was so competitive several A-list operators didn't even make the shortlist. And it proved to be an up-and-coming outsider that pipped the field when Waverley Council met last week.
The crew from Circular Quay's recently opened Hinchcliff House has nabbed the beachfront site.
Hinchcliff House co-owner Scott Brown declined to comment on the deal to Good Food.
Brown and his partners teamed up with a Bondi brewing company, although initial plans to open a boutique brewery at the site are believed to have been jettisoned. While there'll still be a beer component, word on Bondi's sandy eat streets is it'll be more of an approachable all-day brasserie or bistro.
The Hinchcliff team were seen as a longer-odds applicant in the early days of the pitch, before they opened the sprawling Circular Quay venue, which includes an upmarket restaurant, all-day eatery, bar and bakery.
In a field that included hospitality heavyweight Fraser Short in tandem with Kitchen by Mike owner-chef Mike McEnearney, out-of-town wild card Darling Group – the team behind Melbourne venues Higher Ground, Top Paddock and Kettle Black – it was thought the incumbent Bucket List was the frontrunner.
It was The Bucket List that put the pavilion on the map as a hospitality site. It was so entrenched many people referred to it as the Bucket List site during the tender process, even through the new location of the restaurant will be at the other end of the Bondi Pavilion.
Competition is believed to have pushed rent for the space to roughly $1 million a year. Reps for Waverley Council couldn't be reached for comment.