With last years departure of the short-lived and conjoined Tram Stop Diner & El Cuervo Cantina, the digs at 609 King Street have been transformed and once again show signs of life. The concrete floor has been stripped and polished, new furniture and lighting has moved in and gone is the vintage mural of Newtown during Sydney’s tram age.
A quick scan over the breakfast and lunch menu reveals much of what we’ve seen all over the traps; the likes of eggs benedict, caesar salad, BLT and salt & pepper squid.
It’s what stands out from the norm that gets my attention, especially in a new business, and it doesn’t take long to notice that End of King has a slight point of difference.
Chef and owner Sal learned a thing or two about cooking from his mother and grandmother when he was growing up in Kathmandu, and it’s these techniques that show through to some of the dishes on his menu.
Sal has been cooking in Sydney for 15 years, at one point business-partnering with his brother on Glebe Point Road. Now the brothers have their own places – Sal in Newtown and his brother Naggy at the O’Connell Street Cafe in town.
All day breakfast is very much the norm in many-a-Sydney cafe. We kind of expect it now, don’t we? We’ve been for breakfast a couple of times now and sampled a few of the edibles, so here’s a little preview.
The End of King smashed avocado (15.9) is a pretty decent doorstop of rye sourdough, tomato, bacon and grilled Cypriot haloumi. A rather flat poached egg threatens to burst at the slightest touch and a curious squiggle of pomegranate molasses introduces a tangy sharpness.
The aloo chop! (15.9) is bound to kick-start the tastebuds. Two small spiced potato cakes, fried eggs dusted in mild paprika and some roti and spiced chickpeas. I kinda wanted more of those potato cakes!
Shakshuka (16.9) has been doing the rounds for some time now and the one at End of King is one of the better ones I’ve tried thanks to some meat. Lurking beneath the tomato ragù are two spiced lamb koftas, topped with an egg before a little oven time. A lot more spice in the sauce would have gone down a treat.
And how nice to see momos on the menu. We had our fair share of these pleated dumplings in Kathmandu many years ago, gorging on plates of them with cold beers before and after our trek to Everest Base Camp.
The momos here are made by Sal’s wife, Munu, filled with either spiced chicken or vegetables. A roasted tomato chutney comes with the dumplings, spiced up and puréed for generous dunking.
Veering away from the Nepalese goodies, the prawn linguine (17.9) doesn’t disappoint. Cherry tomatoes, a bit of vino, fresh lemon and red chilli are mixed through the pasta with confit garlic cloves and those gorgeous prawns.
For something a bit lighter there’s the warm squid & chorizo salad (16.9). The combination of these two ingredients is pure heaven, only enhanced with chickpeas and lemon-dressed rocket leaves.
A refreshing salad for a business that has refreshed the bottom of King Street. All the best, guys.