Every time I go to Sydney I wonder why I don’t visit more often. Don’t worry Melbourne, my heart is with you (grey skies and all) but a weekend in Sydney makes for a great couple of days away especially when there are lots of great new places to eat.
One of the recent Sydney openings firmly on my radar was Jason Atherton’s Kensington Street Social. I was a big fan of Atherton’s first restaurant, Pollen Street Social, when it opened in London and he has now opened restaurants around the world (I’ve eaten at his Singapore tapas bar as well) and this is his first restaurant in Australia.
Kensington Street Social has opened out the back of the so-hot-right-now Old Clare hotel in Chippendale, just a 15 minute walk from Sydney’s CBD. It’s a glamorous space with soaring ceilings, huge glass windows and an open kitchen and bar area dominating the space.
We were offered a seat at the bench overlooking the kitchen which I’d highly recommend for couples or solo diners as you get a great view of all the theatre of the kitchen. Like everywhere these days, dishes are designed to share so we started with some cleverly named tongue and cheek croquettes ($15) which were deep fried little delights draped with slivers of tongue and some sharp picalli.
The must order dish at Kensington Street Social is the Haramasa Kingfish ($19). The white fish has been lightly seared tataki style before being cut into thick slices and served chilled with a sprinkling of kale togarashi. It’s a clever dish and beautifully executed.
Subtle flavours impress in dishes like the Mulloway cooked with crisp skin and teamed with pippies and small cubes of soft baked potato dashi ($30). The lamb rump ($35) is a more gutsy winter dish. The pink lamb sits on a stew of borlotti beans scattered with bacon and deep fried Brussel sprout leaves which add crunch. It’s the sort of dish that gives you warm, fuzzy feelings.
To finish off, the caramelised apple with puff pastry was like a mini apple tarte tartin. It had a delicious toffee top but could have been more generous in serving size ($17). I really just wanted more of Atherton’s food. You’re in skilled hands eating at Kensington Street Social and a meal there is a whole lot of fun.
Details: Kensington Street Social, 3 Kensington Street, Chippendale (Ph 02 8277 8533)
Damage: Pricey. Our bill came to just under $200.