And still they come department

April 2009

A mixed batch this month — from rugger to burgers. First up, Grillers (84 Mountain Street, Broadway Ph 9281 8568) offers steaks, burgers, ribs — anything that’ll fit on the grill. Mixed reports so far, but worth a look.

Then at the old Phamish site, Koi (1/354 Liverpool Street, Darlinghurst Ph 9331 1167) we now have modern Japanese. It’s BYO and none too pricey, according to our spies.

Up Windsor way, a place we reported on some months ago, Vault 146 (146 George Street, Ph 4587 8146) has opened. It’s in the old Westpac bank. The original correspondent who told us about it in November last year emailed again to tells us: “It was reasonably good (certainly the best in the area). It’s a very funky and expensive renovation with a really nice outdoor deck for drinks. The Wine Bar has opened upstairs but I haven’t had a chance to check it out yet.” Thank you again, Windsor spy.

Not exactly an opening but good news is that ex-Bilson’s chef Manu Feildel has moved into L’étoile, which has been remonikered as Manu at L’étoile (211 Glenmore Road, Paddington Ph 9332 1577). Even better is that, once again, in tune with the times, the prix will be fixe(d) at bistro rather than Bilson’s levels.

Bring on the gastro-club. Well, there’ve been a few around for quite a while (check out La Tratt at Fairfield RSL — it wins wine list awards), but it’s the first time to our knowledge that a rugby union club has offered itself as a dining destination. That’s what Randwick Rugby Club has tackled with Brook St Kitchen & Bar (102–104 Brook Street, Coogee Ph 9665 5447) with a chef from London, Neil Pass, wine list by Nick Hildebrandt of Bentley Restaurant and Bar and, swizzling the stick for the cocktails is Alexx Swainston. The rah-rahs have always enjoyed a good feed and now they can get it on their own turf — and so can you.

I’ve fallen in love with Freshwater (the beach), thanks to a surfing daughter who hasn’t yet got her licence and so drags me out of bed every Sunday morning to take her there. It’s a great surfing beach with a pretty ocean swimming pool, never crowded and always easy to get a park. You know that Giovanni Pilu has Pilu at Freshwater, overlooking the beach, but just up the road is a little coffee joint, The Kitchen Door Café ( 28 Lawrence Street, Freshwater Ph 9905 8555) run by two chefs, Elizabeth Driffield and Jenny Shaw, who’ve recently decided to open as a BYO every Friday night - testing the water and serving simple dishes like slow-cooked duck with blood plums and star anise. Good on 'em for having a go in tough times. Could it be that this is the future - simple BYO locals?

Muse Restaurant SydneyAnd finally, two not so simple and not BYO but locals to somebody. First, Muse (Hungerford Hill Winery 1 Broke Road, Pokolbin Ph 4990 0711) is a relaunch of an on-site restaurant with a whole new team and a new name. Behind the stoves is Troy Rhoades-Brown and out front, his wife, Megan. They’re well known in the valley for their time at Robert’s Restaurant also in Pokolbin. They’ve been up and running since March 2, so they’ve had plenty of time to shake down.

The other, not opening until May 1, is Sepia Restaurant and Wine Bar (Darling Park 201 Sussex Street, Sydney Ph 9283 1990), the brainchild of  well-known Sydney fishmonger George Costi and chef Martin Benn, last seen in Sydney at Tetsuya’s and The Boathouse. Benn knows his fish, Costi knows where to get it and they’ve both made a pact to keep prices reasonable. Looking forward to this one.

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