Mike McEnearney's long-awaited follow-up to his Rosebery hit Kitchen by Mike finally opens on Monday, and the one-time Rockpool head chef is already pulling all-nighters at the CBD restaurant.
"I sat here all night curing the wood oven. It gave me a great feel for the space which we've deliberately left pretty raw so we can grow into it," he says.
It's the start of a busy period for McEnearney, who opens a Kitchen by Mike at Sydney International Airport in September and is close to signing off on another site, believed to be in Surry Hills.
But right now the focus is on the opening of No. 1 Bent Street by Mike, which differs from McEnearney's pioneering of high-quality food with canteen-style delivery.
"There are lots of reasons why we have included waiters here. It gives me the ability to cook things I couldn't before, like fish pie. A fish pie straight out of the oven looks great, take a few spoons out of it at the counter and it looks terrible," he says.
"We also have a rotisserie this time. We'll cook fish on terracotta tiles in the wood fire oven."
McEnearney will also bake his own bread, a craft in which he schooled himself by working at Iggy's Bread after leaving Rockpool.
Open Mon-Fri 11.30am-3pm, 5.30pm-late; Sat 5.30pm-late.
1 Bent Street, Sydney, 02 9252 5550, onebentstreet.com.au