Heading up the zebu team: port’s newest bar and grill are Justin, brent and kate. we find out all the buzz …
Kate, the venue looks amazing – congratulations! Give us an overview of what has been achieved and what Zebu is all about.
We’re very excited about the opening of the new venue – it’s the result of years of planning by our owners and General Manager David Capper.
Construction began in late July, with the demolition of the old Compass Restaurant and Vue Café.
We have a new grand entrance from the Town Green, which features two gas fireplaces. As you walk in, there is an 8 metre bar. You can simply stroll in off the Town Green and relax with a drink! The vibe is very relaxed and welcoming.
We have extended the alfresco area, which overlooks the Town Green and the Hastings river – it now runs the length of the front of the hotel, allowing picture perfect water views.
All terrace spaces are fully covered and suitable for all types of weather.
We have a 110-seat à la carte restaurant for breakfast, lunch and dinner and also a private 60-seat function room.
The wood-fired pizza oven is a special feature, along with the new Hay Street entrance, which features marble and timber. The use of glass is unique and extensive, taking advantage of our positioning.
What other special features does Zebu offer?
Zebu’s waterfront location at Rydges Port Macquarie is the perfect spot to sip on a beer and watch the world go by, have a sun drenched breakfast, a leisurely lunch, or meet friends for drink after work ‘til late.
We are featuring local oysters; teamed with a cocktail or an ice cold beer, they should be a knock out combo. The bar will also be the ideal spot to relax with a bubbly and a bite to eat prior to a show at The Glasshouse.
With year round, all weather dining, Zebu’s contemporary interior is both warm and inviting, with spectacular views over the foreshore.
Zebu also hosts talented local musicians and DJs, with live acts and mellow sounds a regular feature.
We’re pleased that Zebu is finally open and locals and visitors can now get to experience what a fabulous venue it is!
What was the vision for the development?
Our hope was to inject new life into the hotel and foreshore area with a vibrant bar and grill that will be available for everyone to enjoy. We want guests to experience local Peak Coffee and three-course meals.
As part of the redevelopment, the hotel has employed 30 new staff – many of whom are local and have been extensively trained in their departments and are ready to serve our customers.
Where does the name ‘Zebu’ come from?
Zebu is a species of humped cattle that is native to the jungles of South-East Asia. It hints towards our specialty steak menu.
What are Zebu’s trading hours?
We will be open from 6.30am until midnight, every day of the year, serving everything from Eggs Benny to a Hay St Rum Punch Cocktail with local oysters.
Zebu bar + grill will be serving coastal cuisine from sun up ‘til sunset.
Thank you Kate.
Sydney-based Brent Tozer has been contracted to oversee the launch of the cosmopolitan 100-seat bar area. He most recently worked at Sydney suburb Darlinghurst’s favourite pub Kinselas and will introduce new drinks and a new style of service.
Here’s what Brent had to say about his exciting new role.
How long have you been in the hospitality industry?
Just gone 18 years. I started out in the bar and did most of my training in the US. I have been back in Sydney on and off for about 12 years. I worked in the US for about 3 years, the UK for 3 years and I also did some island hopping around Greece, where I did some consulting work.
You’ve brought a flair and some city sophistication to the Zebu drinks menu. Tell us about the signature drink …
The signature drink will be the Zebu Mixed Berry Caprioska: it’s a blend of blackberries, raspberries and blueberries which are pureed; then we pour over ice a blueberry infused Rusky vodka and also a little fraises des bois, which is a wild strawberry French liqueur.
Most bar tenders have a few crowd pleasing tricks up their sleeve for presentation of cocktails. Are you and your team going to be showing off your tricks?
We will work in a little bit of flair – not huge amounts. We’ll do a bit of working tricks, like throwing the glasses behind our backs, catching some ice in the air and acts like that.
We are also doing a few flaming drinks, which are bound to get everyone’s attention. We do a drink called the Flaming Nipple, where you get a waterfall of sambucca on fire as it falls into the glass from a couple of feet in the air – it looks pretty cool!
What will the ladies love about the Zebu cocktail list?
The cocktail list is primarily geared to the ladies, as opposed to the gents … although there are a few strong rum based drinks in there for them! But, most of the drinks are female oriented. There are some excellent choices on the list; one in particular is the Vincent Mango. It has fresh mangoes with Chambord (a raspberry liqueur), Galliano and Baileys, which gets poured into a chilled martini glass, with a nice flared strawberry on top.
There are lots of nice, fresh, bright fruits that we’re using – especially all the fresh seasonal fruits at the moment.
The cocktails have been designed to appeal to a more elegant market. There are some sophisticated drinks that the ladies will love, as well as some French champagne cocktails, so I think we have covered all our bases.
What is the typically sunny Sunday afternoon atmosphere going to be like?
We have themed each day of the week, and Sunday will be Lazy Sundaze. We have a great line up of music and some amazing visuals around the venue. We’re hoping it will be a cool, funky, relaxed crowd.
Why is the bar such a big feature of the development?
The Zebu bar has one of Port Macquarie’s best waterfront views – a meeting place for all wanting to watch the world go by. You can relax on your choice of indoor outdoor, outdoor lounges and tables. The bar hosts up to 100 guests seated at indoor and alfresco tables, or 180 guests in a standing cocktail style.
Last words on Zebu?
Come on down and try the drinks!
Thank you Brent.
Restaurant Manager Justin has been with the Rydges Hotel for the past 3 years here in Port Macquarie. He’s been working in the industry for the past 15 years. Now in charge of 30 Zebu staff, we chat to him about the grill which complements the bar area.
Obviously steaks will be a feature on the menu. Tell us a little about those …
At Zebu we have sourced premium beef to ensure that quality is guaranteed from pasture to plate. Breeding techniques, healthy breeding environments, coupled with quality ageing and processing, are carefully considered and assessed.
Our Executive Chef, Michael Schubert along with our Operations Manager Filemon Maneloskos have hand selected three key Australian beef families, including 1824 Premium Beef from the never ending grasslands of Queensland and the Northern Territory, King Island Beef from the lush green pastures of Tasmania and the marbled delicacy that is Kobe Wagyu from the breeding stations of the Hunter in New South Wales.
He then char grills your selected cut to your specification – lightly seasoned and cooked just the way you like it …
What else are you offering guests in the Restaurant?
We also have an extensive à la carte menu featuring grilled prawns, roasted duck, Atlantic Salmon and plump scallops with chorizo. The grill will be the ideal dinner spot for business or pleasure. Our wine list is extensive, featuring everything from the local drop to French Champagne. We look forward to welcoming you to Zebu!
Thank you Justin.