Affectionately named after Justin Hemme's mum, Merivale Hemmes, you'll find mimi's on Coogee Pavilion's middle level.
Merivale’s design dream team (Bettina Hemmes, Vince Alafaci and Caroline Choker of ACME and stylist Amanda Talbot), has revived the building's stunning and enormous arched windows. If you’re familiar with Coogee Pav—the busy family-friendly ground floor eatery and the pumping rooftop club—expect to encounter a different pace at mimi’s. Think leather in subdued, smooth olive green, bone-coloured linens, warm lighting and an enormous open kitchen with wide, oyster-stacked marble benches.
Brace yourselves for the menu—it's a total coastal dream. Bert's head chef Jordan Toft is in charge, which means you're in for a sweet Mediterranean vibe dressed with some impressive Australian flavours.
Begin with snacks like barbecued black abalone skewer, puff pastry arlettes with warm d'affinois, bread cannoli with chicken liver pate and chives, and aforementioned freshly shucked rock oysters. Then, graduate to pipis in pancetta broth with garlic, chilli, karkalla and urchin bottarga or grilled pork collar with wild honey and rosemary.
And, if you’re not already salivating, mains cover off things like charred Murray cod with lemon thyme, grapeseed oil, tangerine and coriander seed, and a grilled wagyu flatiron #9 with bullhorn pepper and Kampot and horseradish.
There’s also the option to let Toft take you on a quick trip to the Med via a menu called “mimi’s Selects”, which kicks off with a hit of caviar and frozen vodka (that’s a massive yes from us), and promptly moves on to Queensland mud crab, and a suckling piglet for two with finger lime salsa.
Chablis is the superstar on the 600-strong wine list, and we’re very on board with that choice from sommelier Adrian Filiuta (Chablis is a drop that’s quietly trending in Australia right now).
While you're there, drop into the adjoining cocktail bar, will's or (if you're still hungry), the ever-evolving tapas spot, Una Más.
Image credit: Steve Woodburn