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January 24, 2022
Habits

Sun, sea and spritzes incoming at Silver Sands Beach Club

The Aldinga Bay Surf Life Saving Club has brought in hospitality operators Mark Kamleh and Nick Stock to create a "tavern-style" venue on its site, operating from breakfast through to dinner with a "Mediterranean" menu from chef Annika Berlingieri.

  • Words and pictures: Johnny von Einem

Inside the coastal structure that will soon be known as Silver Sands Beach Club, the new business’s co-founder, Nick Stock, brims with excitement talking about what he wants to deliver to Aldinga locals.

Remarks

Silver Sands Beach Club
Norman Road, Aldinga Beach 5173

Silver Sands Beach Club is slated to launch in February 2022.

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“It gives me goosebumps. It feels like such a privilege,” the renowned wine critic and Tasting Australia drinks curator says, surveying the 52-head space (or 160 pax in non-COVID times). “And it’s a big responsibility. I love the community down here. There’s so many good people. It’s unreal.”

Silver Sands Beach Club will be the new hospitality offering of the Aldinga Bay Surf Life Saving Club, whose old clubrooms were destroyed by storm damage in 2018, leading to the building being razed and rebuilt.

The new hospitality venture will operate separately from the community organisation, bringing income into the club through rent while reducing its burden of operating the space with volunteers.

For the project, Nick has partnered again with Mark Kamleh, with whom he runs events business Wine Country.

The two have brought on chef Annika Berlingieri, with the team currently in the process of designing a “Mediterranean, Italian” menu, with plenty of classics, like “schnitzels, burgers, fish and chips,” Mark says. “Things that you want to eat when looking at to the ocean.”

The kitchen will “add flair where we need to add flair, but really just nail the classics,” Mark continues.

“It’s a relaxed, un-fussed, just good, nourishing style of food,” Nick adds. “And it’s got to be fun as well.”

There will also be plenty of takeaway options for people relaxing on the beach, families enjoying the nearby playground, or people who just want to take home an easy dinner.

 

The style of service will reflect the casual nature of the food.

“Come off the beach covered in sand, wet ­– we don’t care. Order at the bar, take your table number, relax,” he says.

“We don’t want to be a special occasion place. We just want to be every day, roll in, you can’t be bothered cooking, go to the Beach Club.”

Mark has a long history in Adelaide’s hospitality industry, beginning in kitchens, moving to front-of-house, and eventually running his own pop-ups, like Hummus Where the Heart Is, Tiger Mountain, and Syrian Mobile Disco.

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Throughout his career, a bricks-and-mortar venue has always been the goal, and Mark had always had a particular type of business in mind. “Initially I thought I’d have a trendy, cool, highly Instagrammable, celebrity chef venue,” he says. But when Nick called with this opportunity, he realised, “Actually, this is exactly what I want. No frills, just good, and casual.”

Silver Sands Beach Club, which has as-yet-unveiled branding by Carlo Jensen and Tristan Kerr, will operate a kiosk from early in the morning, with “two or three” breakfast items. The restaurant proper will open to the public for lunch through dinnertime.

On the drinks front, SSBC will draw heavily on the surrounding Fleurieu region, with which Nick and Mark have a strong relationship through Wine Country and their extensive histories in the hospitality and wine worlds.

“It’s a great time to be opening a place like this, from a wine perspective, because there are so many, so many good wines being made here that are informed by the character of the place and the lifestyle down here,” Nick says.

“We also know that the local winemakers love to drink great wines that inspire them, or that excite them, so we’ll include great wines from further afield.

“And it’s just who we are, we can’t do anything but have a wine list that we’re super proud of.”

 

There is a small patch of grass between the venue and the beach, giving the restaurant an enviable outlook to the ocean. Being this close to the surf, Nick and Mark hope Silver Sands Beach Club will perform the same function as it did under the stewardship of the Aldinga Bay Surf Life Saving Club – a spot for club members to stop in for a beer and a chat after a day spent surveying the water.

As a not-for-profit organisation, the surf life saving club was eligible for a club licence, which allows the licence holder to serve alcohol without the accompaniment of food and offer takeaway booze.

As a regular business operating with the surf life saving club as a landlord, Silver Sands Beach Club is not eligible for the club licence, but they want to offer the same experience.

The next best category they’re eligible for is the general and hotel licence, which allows the sale of alcohol without food and the option to sell takeaway booze. It’s a coveted category, rarely awarded to new businesses opening at a site without a historical hotel licence.

But Nick and Mark say this licence is crucial to the social function they want Silver Sands Beach Club to perform.

“We want it to be like a tavern, like a pub. Just roll in, have a drink, catch up, see ya later,” Mark says.

“Just a before-dinner drink… Come off the beach, they’ve been there all day, they’re about to go home, just have a spritz or a glass of wine or a glass of beer, have one of those and just head back [home].”

 

When Silver Sands Beach Club launches (hopefully in Feb this year, pending the liquor licence), the plan is to start simple – launch with the hospitality offering – and eventually roll in the kinds of events the Wine Country duo is known for.

“This will become the headquarters for our wine events. Again, we’ve just got the most amazing location to do those things,” Nick says.

“We’ll do other things in other places, but certainly,” Nick turns towards the floor-to-ceiling windows looking out to sea, “wow.”

For updates on Silver Sands Beach Club’s construction and opening date, follow along on Instagram.

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