Pulp Kitchen restaurant reopens in Ainslie under new owner Gus Armstrong

Jil Hogan
The revamped Pulp Kitchen at Ainslie shops. From left, Head chef Josh Lundy, owner Gus Armstrong, floor manager Ross McQuinn.
The revamped Pulp Kitchen at Ainslie shops. From left, Head chef Josh Lundy, owner Gus Armstrong, floor manager Ross McQuinn. Photo: Jamila Toderas

After three months of renovations, the new Pulp Kitchen opens its doors on May 19.

New owner Gus Armstrong, from Braddon's eightysix, said the latest iteration of the popular Ainslie restaurant is, at its core, "a delicious neighbourhood eatery".

Armstrong was mindful to keep with the vibe of Ainslie Village, paying homage to what came before but also giving it a modern lift.

Brook trout caviar, pikelets, and cultured cream.
Brook trout caviar, pikelets, and cultured cream. Photo: Jamila Toderas

"It used to be a European Brasserie, and I want to be quite respectful of what it was before," he said.

"I wanted to keep the name but it's had quite a few changes over the years, this site, and it needed to be brought into what cooking is in Australia now, which is a lot of Asian."

On the new menu, you'll find a deconstructed sushi and sashimi plate, brook trout caviar with buckwheat pikelets and cultured cream, duck agnolotti with mushroom consomme, and saskia beer organic roast chicken with kale and anchovy.

Saskia beer organic roast chicken with kale and anchovy.
Saskia beer organic roast chicken with kale and anchovy. Photo: Jamila Toderas

There's still some European classics, like the French Onion soup, and they're not completely messing with tradition, keeping the popular steak, frites and bearnaise sauce, but with a different cut of beef.

Desserts are simple and flavoursome, from a creme caramel to a particularly delicious lemon tart. Wine is all Australian, with a focus on French varietals, and all available by the glass and the bottle.

"I set the menu up so we don't have to be too French. I want it to be an Australian neighbourhood bistro; Australian food, and on-trend but still grown up. And it still needs a point of difference to eightysix," he said.

"For all of the people that eightysix is a bit too in-your-face for should feel much more comfortable here."

The venue has retained its layout, with a few fresh tweaks. The render from the outside of the building now runs inside across the walls, and has been left raw. There's also new lighting, and a green velvet banquette along the far wall.

In the kitchen, one wall has been knocked out, and the bench running alongside the kitchen has been lowered, adding to the intimacy of the space.

"I want it to be like you come into our kitchen," said Armstrong.

Staff have been brought over from eightysix, with Josh Lundy as head chef and Ross McQuinn managing the floor.

Armstrong bought the restaurant off previous owners Dan Giordani and Nathan Brown earlier this year

Pulp Kitchen is open for dinner seven nights a week, and for lunch Friday, Saturday and Sunday.