It may not be the farm he dreamed of building one day, but the spanking new Flour Drum on Newtown’s King Street south is a damn fine effort by Newtown lad and co-owner Johnny Ageletos. Together with his partners Christopher Heaps and Victor Li, they’ve transformed 531 King Street into a cosy eating space that also offers us jams and relishes from Johnny’s Pantry – made by none other than Ageletos himself.
Each of them brings something to the table. Christopher with his previous stints at Bel Mondo, Wharf Restaurant and A Tavola – Victor is well seasoned in marketing, thanks to being creative arts director at an advertising agency; and Johnny’s done the hospitality thing since being a teen.
Aside from the giant mural that’s commissioned by local artist Scott Marsh, the walls act as chalkboards – displaying the breakfast and lunch edibles that are knocked together by chef Michael Gorski and his offsider Jason.
One of his signatures is the shredded pancake (11.5), an ensemble that’s made for easy one-handed eating. It’s creamed-up with vanilla mascarpone, with juicy strawberry compote and caramelised pistachios.
I was a tad besotted with the corned beef hash (14), a hefty lump of goodness that’s packing in the flavour department. It could be a little rich for some, but coupled with a poached egg and tangy kale salad, it’s a winner in my eyes.
Aside from the relishes and jams, there’s a whole lot of “house-made” going on. All the cakes, pastries and pies, the milk buns, toasted muesli, peanut butter and these insane baked beans (15.5). Johnny takes credit for the beans – and rightly so. Chunks of smoked ham hock and confit tomato with toast from Brickfields.
The seasonal lunch menu features the likes of soups and salads, burgers, pies and anything else they feel like whipping up. A petite slow-cooked pulled pork (11) burger is juicy and not overloaded, with good crunch from an Asian slaw.
Incase meat doesn’t float the boat there’s a wholesome quinoa & roasted pumpkin salad (12) dressed in tahini with fennel, carrots, cauliflower and pine nuts.
The counter has a small selection of sweet offerings like cakes, tarts and something I couldn’t resist – Mums baklava – made by Johnny’s mum that lives just down the road. Nice one, Mrs Ageletos.