Pinbone teams up with Merivale for a new pop-up

Author: Emma Breheny
Photography: Kai Leishman (portrait), Merivale (food)

With the dust barely settled on their Chinese pop-up, Good Luck Pinbone, Mike Eggert and Jemma Whiteman are at work on their next shape-shifting venture, this time in partnership with Merivale. On Friday 20 October they will open Mr Liquor's Dirty Italian Disco in the drive-through of the group's Tennyson Hotel in Mascot, with loud tunes, Italianate food and a pick-and-drink system that takes advantage of the ample fridge space at a pub bottle shop.

"We were thinking of restaurants that are always really fun - when it's more than just a meal and you have a really good time," Eggert says. "To us, Italian food is always happy."

The menu will change regularly, but Eggert and Whiteman have a wood-fired oven to work with and they plan to use it for everything from porchetta to prawns, with a 500g bistecca also on the cards. Pasta will also feature on the menu, and there'll be a selection of bruschettas to keep all-comers happy, including octopus, potato and mint, and raw veal with whipped tuna and greens. Fans of Eggert and Whiteman's hazelnut tiramis├╣ will be able to get their fix and, with some luck, there may be an Italian edition of the icy-poles served at Good Luck Pinbone.

Clockwise from top left: bruschetta of raw veal, whipped tuna and greens; burrata; beef tongue, porcini and tomato; bruschetta of peas, beans, ricotta and mint.

Unsurprisingly for a bottle shop, there will be a vast drinks list, a rare feature for a pop-up restaurant and a change of pace from the BYO scenario at Good Luck Pinbone.

"When you've got a massive cool-room fridge, you can do what you want, even if that's stocking two bottles of something," Eggert says.

Punters will be able to browse the fridges and select a bottle, perhaps a natural wine or a long neck of beer, before sitting down at a table on the horseshoe-shaped driveway. An Italian tap beer, cocktails and wines by the glass will also be on offer.

Good times are the goal, with influences ranging from the Italo-American restaurants of Williamsburg to a backyard barbecue with the extended family. The Tennyson's drive-through, detached from the pub proper and more akin to a large shed, will be decked out for a warehouse party vibe, and Merivale DJs will spin everything from Donna Summers to '80s punk.

So how does it feel to go from running your own pop-ups to working with a big player?

"These guys are seasoned professionals," says Eggert. "They see things that no one else sees."

Sydney will have six months to enjoy Mr Liquor's and what sounds like a glorious mash-up of bar, restaurant and dance party.

Mr Liquor's Dirty Italian Disco, 952 Botany Rd, Mascot, NSW,, Wed-Fri 6pm-midnight, Sat noon-midnight, Sun noon-10pm.

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