Eastside Kitchen + Bar
1/2-10 Kensington Street, Chippendale, NSW 2008
Lunch: Thu-Sat = 12pm-2:30pm
Dinner: Tue-Sat = 6pm-10pm
(02) 9212 0900
Experimental cooking is hard enough, but with sustainability and strictly local produce mixed in – with a hint of theatrical cooking – you either do it well or don’t do it at all. Eastside Kitchen and Bar does it well. Really well.
Restaurant ambience. Sound Capture: sarahmariealice, Freesound.org
When you first walk in through the doors of this second-floor establishment, you immediately get a rustic vibe. Because the interior design team noticeably stuck with the industrial history that the building emits. But there’s something else too, and if you look up you can spot it.
It’s show business. Mix it all together and you get a wonderful concoction of theatrical cooking, sensory food and the perfect atmosphere to dine socially.
First things first: drinks. They’ve really taken the word sensory to a whole new level. Their popcorn daiquiri ($18) delightfully brought to mind the taste and smell of cinema. Although I was little disheartened by the unwarm popcorn accompanying it. They also do mocktails for teetotallers and teenagers who are just not old enough.
If you need proof of fine dining, look no further than the drinks list. You won’t find Smirnoff or Gordons or Bacardi in the spirits list and their wines are a battle between southern Europe, New Zealand and Australia. In my opinion, this battle is mimicked in the food they serve. It may be local produce, but their cooking style and techniques are not.
We started on the foraged darling mills greens, 63º hen egg, shaved parmesan, romesco sauce and quinoa tempeh ($14). The salad was just as you’d expect with the saltiness of parmesan and the tangy romesco sauce, while the lukewarm egg – creamy, but not runny – tasted exceptional. Just wish they’d cut down on useless words like “hen” egg.
We also had to try the Sydney Rock Oysters ($5pp) which were expectedly fresh and of course, the drunken Moreton Bay bug ($19) which tasted surprisingly well raw, with the added flavours of prawn ceviche, rice wine (hence the “drunken”), cucumber and scallions. Next was the char-grilled ranger’s valley angus hanger steak ($32) which was, to my personal choice, cooked to medium rare. Quite perfectly too. The potatoes were soft and the broccolini had a soft crunch.
But the best warm dish, in my opinion, and in our Spanish waiter’s opinion too, was the potato gnocchi with liquid pecorino pearls, pumpkin and sage ($23), which was as good as it sounds. The sauce had a salty brie-like taste while the creaminess of the gnocchi balanced it all out.
Perhaps the one thing I have to commend them on is the amount of detail in their presentation. Every plate came out like they were ready for a photoshoot. And not just mine, but all dishes. Even the lovely ladies next to us had perfectly designed plates.
The pièce de résistance, however, came right at the end, and this is where theatre really comes to life. It’s their signature dish ‘Fire and Ice’ dessert presentation ($44).
The dessert selection on the platter differs depending on what’s in stock and what the chef picks. Our dessert platter included two flaming creme brulee’s with white sambucca, three brownie squares, two cute-sized pots of mint cake topped with mint-flavoured mousse, two raspberry cheesecake layered with vanilla, two scoops of tiramisu-flavoured mousse, two tangy lemon tarts, with scattered mounds of honeycomb (served with a splash of nitro) crumbled chocolate and vanilla cookies, and loose raspberries and blueberries.
Needless to say, the platter was empty when we finished with it.
As a final note, I have to commend the service. The two waiters were attentive and organised, and they worked together quite well. The kitchen staff, whom could be seen by anyone in the dining room, shared an attentive and collected demeanour. Which means that Eastside Kitchen and Bar is a place for any special occasion, to which I’d highly recommend to anyone.