Owners Nick and Joe van der Heide and Byron Dunn in Parsons, their new bar-restaurant.
Owners Nick and Joe van der Heide and Byron Dunn in Parsons, their new bar-restaurant. Photo: Jessica Hromas

Scott Bolles

Sydney's Kellett Street has battled bad press since rival gangs fought a battle there with knives and guns in 1929. Now the boom and bust eating strip has a new generation trying to change its fortunes.

Joe van der Heide has opened Parsons, a small bar and restaurant on the site of the short-lived Cafe Boheme, which last year joined a list of now closed restaurants on the strip, including the high-profile Aperitif. Brothers Joe and Nick van der Heide subscribe to the philosophy of build it and they will come at Parsons, fitting out the venue themselves.

They've done a clever job and are confident Kellett Street has finally turned the corner. "A lot of the places [that didn't make it] tried to focus on day trade. It's still a night strip," Joe van der Heide says.

When chef Manu Feildel departed the strip a few years back he argued visitors to the precinct wanted to drink rather than dine, but the new operators seem to have found a balance between the two. Another new venture, Grant Collins' Powder Keg, juggles a clever food menu and a bar with a massive gin list.