Canteen to the stars Kitchen by Mike has opened in the Sydney CBD, with owner and former Rockpool head chef Mike McEnearney returning to his role as baron of the buffet, or at least a dreamy re-interpretation of one.
When McEnearney closed the more formal No. 1 Bent Street he said he missed the face-to-face contact with customers and fast-paced action of Kitchen by Mike in its days at Rosebery.
Good quality produce has always been the star for McEnearney, and the array of salads is true to his approach. Beetroot, black lentil and goat's cheese salad sits next to a cucumber, mirin, ginger and sesame dish, or an early morning special of Asian greens slaw, lime and sesame dressing with a soft-boiled egg. If you prefer meat, there's his "beer can" jerk chicken and pork belly with piccalilli.
McEnearney is also back on the pans at breakfast, dishing up bacon buttys, sourdough pancakes with lemon curd and his take on avo toast, dressed with barley miso, toasted nori and coriander.
At night the lights dim and table service resumes with a more refined experience as guests tuck into Thirlmere chicken with freekeh, golden raisins and tahini yoghurt.
"We've been trying to re-open Kitchen by Mike for a while, but to be honest it's been a real struggle to find somewhere suitable," he says.
"Then it hit me – it was right under my nose all the time. No. 1 Bent Street is the perfect fit.
"Kitchen by Mike is 100 per cent suited to the needs of this part of town. The CBD is crying out for a more casual yet wholesome place to eat."
Open Mon-Fri 7am-11.30am, noon-3pm and 5.30pm-late; Sat 5.30pm-late.
Kitchen by Mike, 1-7 Bent Street, Sydney , 02 9252 5550, kitchenbymike.com.au