Merivale favourite Uccello will reopen this month under new chef Nigel Ward

With the sun now springing from its winter hideout, Merivale is bringing back one of the group’s long-standing favourites, poolside Italian restaurant Uccello. Now helmed by young chef Nigel Ward, ivy pool’s popular hotspot will reveal a swift renaissance, shifting its attention to the Amalfi coast as a new menu takes its cues from the famed Italian coastline.

This includes making full use of the restaurant’s wood-fired oven and charcoal barbecue to express old recipes and techniques Ward learned throughout his travels of regional Italy. Merivale promises a menu that pays homage to tradition and high-quality produce, with the likes of Burraduc Valley buffalo mozzarella served with violetta artichokes and cantabrian anchovies; Cape Morton scarlet prawns with native finger lime, spaghetti alla chitarra, vongole, chilli and bottarga; Ulladulla ruby snapper in cartoccio with mussels, fennel, and salsa verde; and Melanda Park suckling pig with wine grapes and vino gotto.

“I have traipsed the paddocks of Italy, from the south to the north, and have seen the weathered faces of peasani who toil day after day to provide produce for their neighbours,” described Ward. “I believe it is only appropriate that we minimize the amount thrown in the bin as a gesture of respect.”

This means that Ward and his team will work closely with small scale farmers and producers who share his no-waste philosophy, highlighting many of the state’s finest suppliers on the menu, often via an actual listing near each dish so guests know where the ingredients come from.

Those long poolside drinking sessions haven’t fallen by the wayside either, with a long, Italian-leaning list of wines front and centre, sourcing many drops from the Mediterranean and showcasing them alongside exciting local producers and iconic Australian wineries.

Along with the refreshed restaurant, the entire ivy PoolClub has been through a bit of a refurbishment, with additional booths and seating to extend the alfresco dining experience. Around the pool, Vincenzo Biodini of Vinnie’s Pizza will be serving light Italian snacks like proscuitto and rockmelon, antipasto plates, wood-fired pizza, and insalate.

The new Uccello will open to the public later this month, still in the same location on level 4 of the ivy. All information and bookings can be found here.

Photo by Steven Woodburn

Chris Singh

Chris Singh is an Editor-At-Large at the AU review, loves writing about travel and hospitality, and is partial to a perfectly textured octopus. You can reach him on Instagram: @chrisdsingh.