Kensington Street in Chippendale for a good while was rather derelict and abandoned. Now bought to life, the stone paved street is home to a string of unique eateries, among them Spice Alley, Automata and Bistro Gavroche. Today we’re visiting Kensington Street Social, whose concept and menu was put together by British chef Jason Atherton. Atherton has a number of “Socials” around the world – Pollen Street Social in London, Aberdeen Street Social in Hong Kong, Marina Social in Dubai – you get the drift. Now his talent has landed in Inner Sydney, and though he no longer personally presides over the hot plates, those left in his wake know what they are doing.
It was the service that let them down a little that day. Somewhat neglected in our corner and with staff seemingly not communicating with each other (“has no one explained the menu yet?”), and the food was slowish to arrive. And though they knew we were sharing everything, no serving cutlery was provided, other than a knife for the first dish. Small things, early days, I’m sure it will all come good in the competitive Sydney restaurant game.
Eventually we get our hands on some cocktails. Fun, playful, clever, delicious.
We start off with the vine tomato which comes with Vannella burrata, 25 year aged balsamic vinegar, and a size of tomato seasoning. Absolutely gorgeous, it looks like a forbidden fruit and is a pleasure to eat.
I love the freshness of the garden pea salad – an assemblage of snow peas, sugar snaps and pea tendrils – and keep going back for more.
The tataki Hiramasa kingfish falls into the nondescript “nice” category and is much better done at many quality Sydney Japanese establishments.
The spanner crab comes with a refreshing frozen cucumber gazpacho and, interestingly, rhubarb. It works.
Next up is the crispy skin mulloway with pippies (just two so it can be plural on the menu) and baked potato. Pleasant but standard mod Oz fare.
The roast marron tail with curry butter on the other hand I would rather not have shared.
For our iron hit we finish with a couple of meat dishes. The first is a juicy wagyu rib eye, with miso butterscotch and eggplant. The eggplant is delicious.
And finally a modern take on the Sunday roast – lamb rack and braised shoulder, with a cauliflower couscous.
I could have happily fit in dessert, but as I said it was pretty slow and we ran out of time. But it is indeed a pretty cool space to get social in.
Kensington Street Social, 3 Kensington Street Chippendale, Ph
(02) 8277 8533