UK celebrity chef Jason Atherton has a trophy cabinet full of awards and a prized collection of restaurants scattered around the world, but when he opens Kensington Street Social in Chippendale on January 13, it'll have a deliberately Australian flavour.
"The first thing I said to the designer is 'I want the front windows of the restaurant to open to the lane'," says Atherton. "When I think of my visits here places open up and engage the outside. We've been working on this restaurant for a really long time [Good Food broke news of its planning back in 2013]. Australia is one of the few places in the world where you have access to really great ingredients, so we want to use them." The chef points to the marron tails he's sourced, which he says are sweeter and softer than anything similar he'd find in colder northern hemisphere waters.
"Ten or 15 years ago chefs came from Australia to the UK to train, now it's the other way around," he says. "I've eaten at Bennelong and Ester in the last few weeks and the food is so good here you need to tread carefully. Most of the menu is designed for Sydney. [Chef] Robert Daniels was keen to put a kangaroo dish on the menu which at first I thought it was a bit cliched but he won me over."
There's plenty of fun on the carte, like a hot dog in brioche with black pudding crumbs while one of the cocktails uses Froot Loop-infused milk. "I've also rediscovered souffles in recent years and we've got a cherry one in development," Atherton says. "People say Chippendale is like the Shoreditch of Sydney. I want it to be fun eating here. When you work all day do you really want a French waiter standing in front of you explaining every dish?"
Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner daily.
3 Kensington Street, Chippendale, 02 8277 8533, kensingstonstreetsocial.com