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Newcastle Cruising Yacht Club new clubhouse facilities among Australia's best in size and style

by Mark Rothfield 20 Oct 23:01 PDT
Newcastle Cruising Yacht Club new clubhouse © Promocean Media

Newcastle Cruising Yacht Club (NCYC) now has clubhouse facilities to rival the best in Australia in terms of size and style, following the opening of its Stage 3 harbourfront development.

With the building doubled in overall size, bar, dining and lounge space has actually tripled as the new upper storey is available for members and guests rather than being dedicated to corporate offices.

It allows the club to host anything from intimate weddings and functions, right up to gala dinners and corporate events catering for 300 people. There is also a newly opened Nautica Dining restaurant, offering high-class a la carte meals and bar classics.

The project, undertaken by Williams River Steel with internal design by EJE Architects, completes the vision of the club's founders, who allowed for footings and other works in their original scoping.

"The location really justified having luxury finishes and a high-quality drinks and dining experience for our members and guests," NCYC Commodore Steve Rae says. "It's one of the biggest and best all-weather club spaces you'll find, especially right on the waterfront."

Included in the development was an all-new kitchen, which is centrally located in the lower, open-plan bar and dining area.

The area formerly occupied by the kitchen is now the Foredeck room, with high bar tables and glass doors that flood the area with light and air. To cater for functions, it can be enclosed.

The bar has new café-style tables, flowing into a relaxed, sunlit drinking space, then the new Regatta Room dining area. Full-width glass doors lead to an outdoor zone, which has a mix of table settings, bar stools and lounges.

Frameless glass panels can enclose the Regatta Room for functions of up to 150 people. The nearby Trophy Room is also glass-enclosed and suitable for corporate meetings or private dining groups of up to 10 people.

Upstairs has a new space called The Bridge, with a long table flanked by leather chairs. It is ideal for training, board meetings and corporate entertaining during the day, or private dining functions at night with 10-20 people. Glass doors again lead to a balcony with tree-filtered views of the marina and trawler jetty.

The club offers food-and-wine degustation packages, ranging from $110 to $190 per head, making it ideal for special work and family occasions.

The Retreat is a smart-casual, members-only space with a piano surrounded by dining and coffee tables. It can be reserved by members for private banquets and stand-up cocktail events, while visiting regatta sailors also can use it as a dedicated area to mingle.

"We've recently passed the 1000-mark in membership and we think these new spaces will give people even more reason to join," Commodore Rae adds. "As an added incentive, members get 20 per cent off their bar drinks and 10 per cent off meals."

Nautica Dining is a fresh culinary experience in every sense, owned and operated by the NCYC with Luke Carpenter appointed Executive Chef and leading an eclectic and dynamic kitchen team.

Raised on a sheep farm in New Zealand, Luke has long harboured a paddock-to-plate mentality and a passion for cooking. He honed his skills while working in Scotland for five-star resorts and opulent private members clubs.

Upon returning to New Zealand, Luke joined the Mantra Group, rising to become Regional Executive Chef. He then moved to the Anchorage Port Stephens, which was honoured with a Australian Good Food Guide chef's hat under Luke's helming.

In recent years he has worked as a fruit-and-vegetable provedore.

"Every day I was around kitchens and missed working in them... I just love cooking," Luke says. "When the club called me, it represented a great opportunity to start something from scratch.

"The clubhouse has a relaxed, resort-like feel, quite unique for Newcastle. I tell people, 'we don't have 180 poker machines, we have 180 marina berths' - that's the difference."

The kitchen has nine staff, most of whom have worked internationally.

"You can still get a burger or schnitzel but they're done really well," Luke adds. "We offer something different too. Everything is traceable, which brings consistency - our lamb, for example, is from Pukara Estate, our pork is from Murray River, our beef is from Bass Strait.

"We're making our own ice cream and sorbets, along with sauces and dressings, right down to smoking our own salmon."

The bar and lounge menu, meanwhile includes a Charcuterie plate, with selected cured meats, house terrine, pickles, marinated vegetables, sourdough, Australian cheese selection, lavosh, toasted bread, spiced nuts, dried fruit and pastes.

Diners can order from their table using the Covid-safe Me&U smartphone system.

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