Eastside Kitchen & Bar
Level 1, 2-10 Kensington St, Chippendale, NSW
Dinner: Monday – Saturday 5:30-10:00pm
Long Lunch: Friday & Saturday 12-3:00pm
02 9212 0900

The Gods of Food were smiling down on us the day Eastside Kitchen & Bar came to be.

Picture this: you take your other half out for dinner. Most nights the meal is ‘yeah, pretty good‘; some nights it’s ‘yeah, I’d go back‘; and then one night, to your own ears shock, it’s ‘that was the best meal of my life, the best food I’ve ever eaten‘. It happened. We were shocked, somewhat baffled and caught a little off guard. Surely we hadn’t just achieved the impossible – impressing the food critic from hell?

Technically, we didn’t do it – Eastside Kitchen & Bar did. Nip off Broadway, just past Bar Broadway, and you’ll find yourself in foodie heaven, Kensington St. Known lovingly as the home of Sydney favourites such as Spice Alley, Olio and Gin Lane, Kensington St also houses what could seriously be considered one of Sydney’s best and most under-known restaurants. On the first floor of the Old Rum Store down Kensington St, you’ll find yourself entering what can be described as nothing other than ‘mini-Manhattan’. It’s all metal and brass, leather and wood, a combination of lighting fixtures and candles, and as a result – the ambiance is just right.

The food itself is intricate without being fussy, drawing inspiration from the likes of New York steak houses, Japanese eateries and the dining hotspots of Hong Kong. A strange combination that works wonders when executed well.

Upon arrival, after a long week at work, we ordered a bottle of the Paxton Organic Cabernet Sauvignon ($60). We’re not wine experts, we leave that to our trusted Wine Hunter, however we drink enough of it to recognise the good stuff – and good stuff this was. If a you’re after a wine that warms you from the first mouthful, from the inside out, this is it.

Like any good food-obsessed individuals, we had pre-chosen everything before arrival. To kick off with entrees we went for the Chicken Karaage with chili and yuzu kewpie (which we could have had three servings of, easily), the Roasted Bone Marrow with Chimichurri salad, onion jam and rye bread; grilled Clarence River baby Octopus in a smoked almond romesco and potato chips, and just because that wasn’t enough – Iggy’s sourdough with apple balsamic and olive oil. We can confidently, 150% confirm each and every entree was brilliant. It’s not often you can venture out for a romantic meal of food and wine, and everyone genuinely enjoys each dish.

The main menu then came around and if we had the physical room to order everything and enjoy it, we probably would have. Alas, we contained ourselves and went for the Ranger’s Valley Angus strip loin with purple potatoes and black garlic; and the whisky-brined Berkshire pork loin, lovingly placed in a bed of homemade kimchee and polenta. The centrepiece of Eastside is their binchotan grill, a feature that allows for borderline flame-less and smoke free grilling, over Japanese charcoal – which explains the outstanding quality of meat. You’ll be shocked to learn each main was perfect – mouthwatering, tender meat in perfectly curated condiments and sides.

It breaks our sweet food-loving hearts, but by the end of the mains and our bottle of organic Cabernet, we had not one single inch of room for dessert. Trusted insiders do tell us this: do not, under any circumstances, miss out on the dessert presentation of Fire + Ice. On our next visit, we will obviously be ordering dessert first.

We’re not saying we’ve got favourites, we love all Sydney restaurants like a parent loves their many children, however if we did have to pick one – Eastside Kitchen & Bar would undoubtedly be it. Sorry other children, we love you too.