Australian Bistro Burke & Wills Combines Restaurant, Bar, and Cricket Club
Named for the adventurers who made an expedition across Australia in 1860, both the cuisine and the atmosphere at New York City restaurant Burke & Wills count the 1850s Gold Rush, post-WWI immigration from Greece and Italy, and 20th Century Southeast Asia as inspirations.
Owner Tim Harris and partner Matilda Boland (both formerly of Bondi Road, Sunburnt Cow and Sunburnt Calf) combine modern Australian cuisine, wines from the Southern hemisphere, craft beers, and artisanal cocktails. The restaurant will offer a special menu for the weekend of Easter.
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 our guests to relax, but formal enough for quality service.
Harris, a 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 to create a menu that is seasonal, produce-driven, 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, guests can sit at the long bar for daily changing raw bar selections including oysters, little neck clams, shrimp cocktail, or Jonah crab claws. 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 are also available.
Inspired by what comes out of the kitchen, mixologist Greg Seider creates cocktails such as the Bushfire Margarita with Del Maguey Vida Mezcal, fresh lime, orange bitters, and agave and the Sydney Sour with Temptation bourbon, peach bitters, fresh lemon, and agave.
Guests may opt for the more formal dining room, which houses slate gray banquets and distressed stained wood floors under a sky-lit atrium. The menu is more expansive and other small plates include lamb crépinette with roasted cauliflower, capers, and a deeply flavored lamb jus as well as a kangaroo loin with roasted mushrooms and fingerling potatoes, cooked sous vide and pan-seared to order.
One 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.
A third type of experience can be found at the Manhattan Cricket Club, an escapist throwback to the Colonial Era and 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, the Manhattan Cricket Club is located on the second floor, accessed through a stairway behind an upholstered door. Guests can experience the full range of Greg Seider’s cocktails, including his special tea cocktails, as well as boutique champagnes, exotic aperitifs, top shelf spirits, and wines in a luxurious setting.