The south end of King Street in Newtown yet again gets another fresh face. Spencer Guthrie. Two guys with a lot to say via the contemporary food they dish up at their newly fitted space that was once a Thai restaurant. Troy Spencer was head chef at Paddington’s L’etoile and Oliver Guthrie was sous chef at Lucio’s, also in Paddo.
Anyone that remembers the Thai joint that was here will notice some significant changes to the narrow space. Gone are the pastel colours and dated interior. The walls are stripped and sealed to reveal marbled colours from years gone by, a vertical garden fills the back corner, Edison light globes hang from the ceiling and a very open kitchen is decked out with modern equipment. I’m loving the astro turf on the toilet door.
The menu is a very simple read. Five starters, five mains, five desserts where the vege’s are organic, the meat is locally sourced and the seafood comes from our waters. To start, we head for some of the seafood. A salad of charred squid (20) with glorious smoked tomatoes, basil leaves, chilli and puffed black rice. The tomatoes are perfection. Another winning salad was the roasted heirloom carrots (17) that come as a muliti-coloured jumble, beautifully burnished and laced with fennel fronds and chocolate and coffee crumbs. Yup, chocolate and coffee. It’s almost as if a cookie was made and crumbled about the carrots.
A modest hunk of pork belly (30) , complete with chattering crackling is served with peppery watercress and brightly coloured slightly pickled red onion and grilled peaches. Belly fans will love this one. This particular belly fan only got a taste as I was tucking into the lamb shoulder (31). The way it’s constructed is by shredding the cooked lamb, shaping it into barrels and caramelising the edges until lightly crisp. Juicy, a bit rich and just delicious. Smears of creamy roasted garlic graffiti the plate and a pile of pan-tossed silverbeet and chilli add a fresh crunch.
The sweet home stretch involves a light and refreshing poppy seed parfait (15) fanned with apricot and puréed stem ginger and an orange scented ricotta cake (15) with olive oil and thyme ice cream. The addition of passionfruit gives a nice tang. I couldn’t help but notice the efficiency of the kitchen team, running like a well-oiled machine and as quiet as a mouse. The floor staff are equally efficient and make you feel more than welcome. These guys are gonna do well, methinks.