After reopening in late September, Deepwater’s Top Pub has gone from strength to strength. The over 150-year-old pub now has highly motivated owners, Stuart, and Susi O’Neill, at the helm and they have busily been injecting their own unique vitality into the venue.
The newest event on the pub’s calendar is the Chef’s Table Dinners.
Mr O’Neill said he was inspired by a favourite Greek Restaurant in their previous hometown near Kingscliff on the NSW North Coast.
“Every Sunday night they hold a Chef’s Table event, where you’d pay a set price and be surprised by a different menu, selected by the chef each week”.
In April the O’Neill’s decided to take the plunge and hold a Chef’s Table event of their own.
“It was completely impromptu,” says Mr O’Neill, “but within 3 hours we were booked out and ended up having about 17 people attend our first event”.
“It even turned out that one of the guests who had been staying at the Air BnB across the road celebrated her 60th birthday with us, so we had our first surprise menu and a pop-up birthday party all in one”.
“It was a very fun, very memorable night for everyone involved.”
Mr O’Neill has also very openly discussed his dream of the Deepwater Hotel being Australia’s first Mental Health Pub – a place where people can feel safe and have a chat.
Mr O’Neill is a mental health advocate, and his book Just One Reason, which is described on the website as a “mental health toolkit” has been heralded as a brilliant instrument in suicide prevention.
The Chefs Table backs up this ethos nicely, providing an evening whereby people who might not usually get together or may have never met before, get the chance to strike up a conversation and form new friendships over a delicious meal.
Even the kitchen team gets involved, with all the prep work done just in time for them to sit down and eat with the guests.
The event was such a success the O’Neill’s have decided that they will make them a regular occurrence, with the plan at this stage to hold one each month.
The date for the next Chefs Table has not been set in stone yet, but Mr O’Neill tells us it will most likely be Sunday 21st of May.
When asked what kind of cuisine diners can expect, Mr O’Neill does not want to give away any of the suspense.
“I’m the chef on Sunday nights”, he tells us, “I love to look at what we have in the kitchen and make something a little bit surprising but always delicious”.
“As an example, the other night we had a whole pile of roast beef, and I had this idea in my mind about pulled beef spaghetti – it turned out to be an absolutely amazing dish which everyone loved!”
It is the O’Neill’s willingness to experiment and try new things that is no doubt one of the reasons that The Top Pub is very quickly finding its way onto many tourists’ radars.
Mr O’Neill says he welcomes the tourist trade, with the pub welcoming all, from travelling families to caravan and motorcycle groups.
The hotel currently offers 6 rooms with a variety of different bedding configurations to suit different needs. Mr O’Neill comments that weekends are already proving extremely popular, with both the restaurant and the neighbouring accommodation often booked out.
As well as offering a traditional pub menu, and a warm, welcoming environment, the O’Neills clearly have plenty more up their sleeves when it comes to events.
Alongside the Chefs Table Events, there’s also Monday Wing Night, Tuesday Concoction Night, Weekend Brunch, and a soon-to-be-announced Friday Swiss Pasta Night.
Their recent Arm Wresting Championships have also garnered much attention both locally, and further afield as the Australian and NZ champions battled it out in an epic re-match.
To find out more about upcoming events, including the next Chef’s Table Dinner, check out their Facebook page.
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