Lupo goes Italian – Mermaid’s neighbourhood gem pivots with a brand-new identity
Friends, meet Lupo 2.0. It’s been two years since the family-run eating house graced us with its presence – and now it’s time to fall in love with Lupo all over again. Owners Brad, Thea and Harry Pearce have announced a new direction for the Mermaid Beach dining spot, reinventing it as an Italian bar and ristorante.
Originally, Lupo loosely identified as a European-style bistro. Its recent shift toward a solely-Italian restaurant and bar has resulted in a shake-up of its food menu, an overhaul of the cocktail and wine offering, as well as the introduction of guaranteed late-night service, which means Lupo will now be serving drinks and food until midnight from Tuesday to Saturday. Lupo’s ethos of simple, quality and produce-driven food remains at its core, along with its convivial neighbourhood vibe – it’s just heading down an Italian-inspired path in a bid to give the restaurant and bar a clearer identity. You’ll still find father-and-son duo Brad and Harry Pearce in the kitchen, Thea will greet you at front of house, while new face Randy (who tells us his name is a mononym, like Cher) has moved over from his most recent post at Rosella’s to bolster Lupo’s identity as a late-night bar.
The new menu
The Lupo 2.0 menu kicks off with smaller plates and bar snacks like liver-pate toast with cherries, salumi plates arranged with mortadella, coppa and salami, and a rotating vegetable antipasti that’s grilled and marinated daily. Lupo’s new Italian guise sees the introduction of a selection of fresh pasta dishes, all hand-made from scratch – think rigatoni with pork-and-fennel sausage, porcini and ricotta cappelletti with a mushroom brodo, and a rye stracci with beef-cheek ragu and gremolata. There’s also larger plates like barbecued local pork tenderloin with a fig and eggplant agrodolce, and woodfired kingfish with clams in acqua pazza, with the likes of a vibrant panzanella salad, barbecued market greens and Tuscan-herbed potatoes on offer for the side. Don’t look past a sliver of one of Thea’s house-baked Italian cakes to finish.
Behind the bar
Led by Randy, there’s a renewed focus on Lupo’s horseshoe-shaped bar. The cocktails now take a lean toward Italian-style aperitifs, while a number of fresh new wine names make up Lupo’s cellar list, including a selection of natural, low-intervention drops. Italian sgroppinos (using Heven-yah sorbet, freshly churned a few hundred metres away) are now being served, along with creations like the Clarified Milk Punch featuring Husk Spiced Bam Bam rum, Campari, pineapple, kiwifruit, lime, chilli and pistachio. After around 9:00 pm, the curtains separating the restaurant from the bar are drawn, the music goes up a few decibels and Lupo’s raw and moody late-night bar comes to life with sips and bar snacks (like chicken parmigiana sandwiches) served up until midnight, guaranteed.
New opening hours and contact details can be found over in Lupo’s Stumble Guide listing.
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