On July 17, 2013, Owners Tim Harris and Matilda Boland of Southern Cross Hospitality debut the vibrant modern Australian bistro, Burke & Wills. Named after Robert O'Hara Burke and William John Wills, the first Europeans to successfully cross Australia from south to north, Burke & Wills brings the same sense of discovery and adventure to New York City’s Upper West Side. Décor and menus are inspired by the explorer’s journals, illustrations of wildlife, the rough Australian terrain, and the multicultural influences, and flavors found across the country.
Chef Stan Matusevich, previously the corporate chef for the Michael Psilakis Group’s MP Tavern and FishTag, creates a menu of modern Australian fare, with items including creative takes on authentic dishes like a Kangaroo Burger. The restaurant also features a selection of seafood from the Raw Bar, as well as daily changing specials from the Rotisserie, ranging from Stuffed Leg of Lamb to Whole Quail.
Housed in the former Sunburnt Calf location, the bar is outfitted with vintage wood paneling and walls fashioned from wool bales. Smaller standing tables line the wall opposite the bar separated by partitions that lend an intimate spot for guests to stand and enjoy drinks. The back dining room offers a light filled space with an atrium style glass roof, with walls decorated with art depicting scenes of Australian wildlife inspired by the explorer's journals.
The cocktail menu is curated by beverage director Greg Seider and includes drinks like The Sydney Sour with peach bitters, buffalo trace bourbon, fresh lemon, and agave, and The Bushfire Margarita with orange bitters, fresh lime, agave, and del maguey vida Mezcalas. Burke & Wills offers an extensive selection of seasonal craft beers and wines sourced from Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa. Seider is known for his work with notable restaurants such as The Mercer Kitchen, Le Bernardin, Lot 61, The Standard Hotel in Miami Beach, and The Summit Bar and Prima.
Owners Tim Harris and Matilda Boland introduce three new dining and nightlife destinations under moniker Southern Cross Hospitality this summer. Prior to opening Burke & Wills, the two Australian natives opened Hawker Bar, a Southeast Asian restaurant in Brooklyn in June 2013. Manhattan Cricket Club, an old-world cocktail lounge above Burke & Wills, will open in September 2013.