Setting up shop: Neil Thompson at his new Coogee eatery.
Setting up shop: Neil Thompson at his new Coogee eatery. Photo: Anthony Johnson

It's busy, beachside, close to the city and affluent. Yet the map for Coogee at the back of The Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide is barer than Justin Bieber's chin.

Well, there's a new contender washing in at Coogee, with former Four in Hand chef Neil Thompson and his wife Amy snapping up the Art Lounge Café´ on Arden Street.

Later this week they'll open The Little Kitchen, inspired by a trip to Hanoi where they ate at a place with the same name. Small kitchen, big flavour is their mantra. Thompson will kick off with breakfast and lunch before introducing dinner service down the track.

"We'll do kedgeree, and make our own black pudding," says the English chef. While indulging his English heritage with a bacon and egg butty, Thompson says he'll also put avocado and poached egg on the breakfast menu.

Thompson, who was also head chef at the underrated Paddington Arms, took London's pie and mash shops as a starting point for The Little Kitchen's design. "We'll also do a proper ploughman's lunch. I think there's too much salad on the ones you get in Australia," he says.