On May 27, the MooLife Group’s popular Australian restaurant, the Sunburnt Calf, with locations in Brooklyn and on the Upper West Side, served its last brunch before closing its doors for good. MooLife Group founder and owner Heathe St. Clair is handing over the keys to longtime employees Tim Harris and Matilda Boland, who are introducing three new dining and nightlife destinations under a new restaurant group, Southern Cross Hospitality. Set to debut in summer 2013 are: Hawker Bar, a Southeast Asian restaurant that is taking over the Sunburnt Calf’s Brooklyn space and opening on June 3; Burke & Wills, an Australian bistro moving into the ground level of the former Upper West Side location of the Sunburnt Calf in July; and Manhattan Cricket Club, an old-world cocktail lounge opening above Burke & Wills in September.
“I feel it’s time for me to step back and pass the torch to a new generation with a fresh perspective on Australian culture and cuisine,” says St. Clair. “Tim started working with me in 2007 and partnered with me to open the first Sunburnt Calf on the Upper West Side. Matilda has been with MooLife since 2009. They have a vision to bring a new side of Australian culture to New York, and I’m leaving it in their hands.”
“With these three concepts Matilda and I are building on Heathe’s legacy, and we want to give a taste of how far Australian cuisine and hospitality has come in the last decade,” says Harris. “It’s no longer just simply ‘throwing another shrimp on the barbie.’ With influences from the Mediterranean, Middle East, and Southeast Asia, Australia has become a leader in modern cuisine, reflecting the cultural diversity found across our continent.”
Leading menu development for the three locations is chef Stan Matusevish, who was previously the corporate chef for the Michael Psilakis Group’s MP Tavern and FishTag. Drawing upon his travels throughout Asia and experience with Australian cuisine, Matusevish’s demonstrates his versatility in the kitchen, providing exotic flavor profiles found in the dishes at Hawker bar, modern and seasonally driven menus for Burke & Wills, as well as the bespoke tastings for guests at Manhattan Cricket Club.
Curating the innovative cocktail program for the group is beverage director Greg Seider. Acclaimed for his inspired cocktail programs, Seider has worked with notable restaurants such as The Mercer Kitchen, Le Bernardin, Lot 61, The Standard Hotel in Miami Beach, and The Summit Bar and Prima.