The maestro of hospitality has unveiled Merivale’s “fastest period of growth” with no less than seven new venues opening before the end of summer.

Portraits of Jusitn Hemmes on the 4th February 2015.Justin Hemmes’ trend-setting portfolio is launching a string of all-new spaces, plus additions and re-works of existing venues, as his gamut of acquisitions in 2014 begin to bear fruit.

The new offerings begin this month with the opening of J&M – a tribute to his parents and the company founders, (Mr) John and Merivale Hemmes. This will be an intimate whisky bar in the historic Angel Hotel, where House of Merivale once operated as a fashion outlet.

Also, the immensely successful ivy Pool Club will reveal a whole new look, transforming from ‘LA Glitz’ to ‘Italian Riviera’, with a sophisticated new menu and five-day Italian extravaganza (19-23 October).

Next month the Paddington Arms will reopen as The Paddington, with former Momofuku Seiobo chef Ben Greeno leading the culinary charge focusing on rotisserie. Shortly after, Chicken Shop will open next door, serving take-away only rotisserie chicken, salads and sandwiches.

In January Merivale’s first inner-west acquisition, the Queen Victoria Hotel, will relaunch with a kitchen spearheaded by Papi Chulo’s Christopher Hogarth and Patrick Friesen, and Mr. Wong dim sum master, Eric Koh.

Over January and February the legendary Newport Arms will re-emerge, with celebrity executive chef Sebastian Lataud curating seasonal food stalls, alongside an instalment of Vincenzo Biondini’s popular ‘Vinnie’s Pizzeria’, which gained acclaim at Coogee Pavilion.

Promising a “fresh and expanded mix of food, entertainment, social and cultural experiences”, stages two and three of Newport Arms will be revealed in 2016.

February will also see the opening of Fred’s – a new restaurant concept at 380 Oxford Street, led by “food philosopher” Danielle Alvarez – and the site currently operating as Work In Progress, at 50 King St, transformed into a “sophisticated still-to-be-named European wine bar”.

Hemmes, expecting his first child to girlfriend Kate Folwer next month, says he couldn’t be happier.

“This intense period of Merivale’s growth is such an exhilarating time for the group.

“It’s the excitement of diversity and a real need to feed the increasing appetites of Sydney siders for interesting, quality and family friendly offerings that’s driving much of our evolution.”

All the new chefs
All the new chefs
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