Burke & Wills is located at 226 W 79th Street, 646-823-9251, http://www.burkeandwillsny.com and is open seven days a week for cocktails, bar snacks, dinner, late night and weekend brunch: Mon-Wed 4pm-midnight; Thurs-Fri 4pm-2am; Sat 11am-2am, Sun noon-midnight. For more information, on private parties and special events, please contact Matilda Boland at email@example.com.
Exploration is at the heart of Burke & Wills. Named for the pioneering adventurers who made an expedition across Australia in 1860, both the cuisine and the atmosphere at this neighborhood gem are shaped by the influences of the 1850s Gold Rush, post WWI immigration from Greece and Italy, and 20th Century Southeast Asia.
Owner Tim Harris and partner Matilda Boland (both formerly of Bondi Road, Sunburnt Cow and Sunburnt Calf) offer a complete experience not typically found on the Upper West Side, combining inspired modern Australian cuisine, world-class wines from the Southern hemisphere, craft beers and innovative artisanal cocktails. Offering three experiences in one, Burke & Wills contains a casual bar, a fine dining room, and The Manhattan Cricket Club, an exclusive cocktail lounge on the second floor. In each area, guests experience top-notch service and a spirit of fun, in a setting that is casual enough for guests to relax, but formal enough for quality service.
Harris, the very hands-on Director of Operations, who grew up in the restaurant business in Australia, can be found in the front of the house, behind the bar, on the floor, and helping guests to select wine. He worked closely with Executive Chef Rodrigo Nogueira (a graduate of the French Culinary Institute, who previously cooked at Montmartre, the Monkey Bar, Colicchio and Sons and Resto, and is of Brazilian descent) to create a menu that is seasonal, produce-driven, fresh and approachable with Mediterranean and Southeast Asian influences, and also features Australian ingredients such as kangaroo and barramundi.
Guests have a choice of experiences: In the front room, you can belly up to the long bar with plenty of seating and cozy two tops, a DJ booth, and reclaimed wood ceiling for a daily changing raw bar selections—oysters, little neck clams, shrimp cocktail or Jonah crab claws. Or choose from a selection of bar snacks such as toasts topped with chicken liver mousse with pickled onions, beef tartare with smoked egg and capers, and crispy pork belly with blue cheese and dates, in addition to flavor-packed bites such as crispy crab beignet accompanied by Japanese mayo and bonito flakes, creamy textured salt cod croquettes with a piquant h, pep h arissa for dipping or vegetarian risotto fritters with tomato jam.
The innovative yet creative cocktails are the invention of renowned mixologist and partner Greg Seider (Summit Bar, La Bernardin, The Mercer Kitchen and author of Alchemy in a Glass). Inspired by what’s coming out of the kitchen, Seider creates innovative yet accessible cocktails such as the Bushfire Margarita (Del Maguey Vida Mezcal, fresh lime, orange bitters and agave) and the Sydney Sour (Temptation bourbon, peach bitters, fresh lemon and agave).
In the more formal, yet still approachable dining room, you’ll find slate gray banquets and distressed stained wood floors under a sky-lit atrium. Harris scoured library archives for the photographs and paintings of flora and fauna, and maps of Australia. There the menu is more expansive. In addition to the raw bar, small plates include fork-tender, mouth-watering lamb crépinette with roasted cauliflower, capers and a deeply flavored lamb jus as well as very lean, nicely gamey kangeroo loin with roasted mushrooms and fingerling potatoes, cooked sous vide and then pan-seared to order. Best of all starters is a superb Foie Gras Torchon with seared scallop, confit lady apple, honey, brioche. As good as any 3 star restaurant in the city. Also wonderful were the 1/2 Dozen East or West Coast oysters with a cucumber mignonette and a lovely Jonah Crab Claw.
One special feature of the kitchen is the rotisserie used to create daily specials such as whole roasted joints of lamb or beef. A regular and popular menu item is rotisserie chicken brined with aromatics, and served with roasted patty pan squash in brown butter sauce, but the rotisserie is also inventively used with vegetables—for example, in the rotisserie carrot salad, with dates, oranges and pistachio vinaigrette and in the side dish of rotisserie beets.
Another classic signature large plate is spiced duck breast served with farrotto (a risotto-like side made with farro), roasted turnips and honey-turnip puree. Absolutely the best duck breast we’ve ever tasted. The pan-roasted scallops, mussels and clams show Asian influences with fennel and ginger broth. Meanwhile, the ‘roo burger, makes excellent use of Australia’s distinctive protein, blending the lean meat with pork, and topping it with a housemade tomato jam based on Tim’s mom’s recipe, and pickled onions. The burger comes with a side of irresistible triple-fried potatoes, as thick as streak fries, t, tthat should find their way onto every table.
Desserts are delicious and include a deconstructed interpretation of the whipped cream, passion fruit curd and fruit-layered Pavlova, an affogato (Kahlua ice cream from Il Laboratorio del Gelato doused with Kobrick’s dark-roasted espresso doused atop an icebox brownie), bomboloni filled with dulce de leche, and off-the-menu treats available by request.
For those desiring assistance with the wine list, Tim Harris is happy to guide them—and to offer a brief history of wines of the Southern hemisphere, a history that began in 1788 when Cpt. Arthur Phillip landed in Sydney with The First Fleet of settlers to the colony of New South Wales, and bringing with him the first grape vines from Brazil and The Cape of Good Hope and continued with phylloxera-resistant vines, leaving Australia as the home to some of the oldest vines in the world—and along with its neighbors New Zealand and South Africa, with an enviable reputation for innovative winemaking techniques. In addition to the impressive bottle list, diners can choose a selection of sparkling, white, rose and reds by the glass or carafe.We enjoyed an amazing white Bordeaux style Sauvignon, Semillon blend for just $56. ( Blend: 72% Sauvignon Blanc, 24% Semillon and 4% Vermentino. 2013 Route du Van Sauvignon Blanc – Semillon, Yarra Valley, Australia), and a sexy sparkling rose, served by the glass upstairs. For updates on wine dinners, tasting and events at Burke & Wills, follow the folks on Facebook and on Twitter @burkeandwillsny.
Brunch is served on Saturdays and Sundays and includes the special offer of four brunch cocktails for $15 with any entrée. Other specials features include $1 oysters at happy hour, live jazz, and DJs playing music on Thurs-Sat to set the mood in the bar and for the late-night dining scene, which includes a menu of featured bar snacks.
A third type of experience can be found at the Manhattan Cricket Club, an escapist throwback to the Colonial Era, the British Empire at the turn of the 20th Century, an homage to the classic cricket clubs in Australia complete with cricket paraphernalia and photographs of players.
Housed in an apartment restored to its original layout and aesthetic, it is located on the second floor, accessed through a stairway behind an upholstered door (hidden in plain sight), the Manhattan Cricket Club is a place where guests can experience the full range of Greg Seider’s classic and bespoke cocktails, including his special tea cocktails, as well as boutique champagnes, exotic aperitifs, top shelf spirits and wines in a luxurious setting. The décor includes a wood paneled living room and library (with real books) with an oriental rug, gold brocade wallpaper, leather sofas, and all the comforts of home. The marble bar is filled with everything you can imagine and more—handcrafted tinctures, syrups and bitters, garnishes, imported teas, and the proper style of ice for each drink.
Here drinks designed exclusively by Greg Seider for the club are built with care: The Rolling Stones-inspired Just A Kiss Away is composed with a house infusion of lemongrass and black pepper, Plymouth gin, lemon juice, and topped with cava. The Bonfire Of The Calamities has the fresh flavor of Southeast Asia, with kaffir lime-infused Russian Standard vodka, fresh lemon, agave, and smoky bonfire spritz. Paying special tribute to the traditional test cricket match tea break and colonial India, I’ll Have Another features Santa Teresa 1796 rum, garam masala spiced syrup, fresh Lime, club soda and shaved ginger. A selection of small plates including cheese platters, salmon rillettes, assorted housemade pickles and mixed olives are offered to accompany the drinks.
A private club that is open to the public, the Manhattan Cricket Club offers exclusivity without snobbery. When space permits, all are welcome. It is a gentleman’s club where women are equally welcome. But membership does have its privileges: priority seating with guests on a walk-in basis, reservations, access to member only events, gatherings and tastings, private liquor lockers, the opportunity to book a room or the entire apartment for private functions, and private menus with advanced ordering. Membership is your reward. For more information on how to join, visit the website at http://www.mccnewyork.com. Certainly one of the best restaurant options on the West Side! Here is the other website.
Copyright 2014 By Punchin International. All Rights Reserved.