Towards the end of a nearly 3-week trip, I'm not going to lie, I was feeling lazy about my food selection process.
While I had a lengthy list of restaurants to explore in Sydney, in the end, our last night in Australia was spent literally downstairs at Kensington Street Social. Of course, I will use the excuse that it's also difficult to find a good restaurant that's open on a Sunday evening (according to the hostess, venues have to pay quite a bit more to their kitchen and servers to make this happen). Given I'm also familiar with Chef Atherton's work here in Dubai, I was curious to see what the menu would look like at a similar venue in another city.
Either way, we somehow ended up seated at the pass, with an insider's view of how dishes are prepared and how the kitchen operates in general (which, on this Sunday night, was what I would classify as 'crazy busy.') Done in a stunningly stark green tone, the menu at Kensington Street Social is quite different than its Dubai cousin. Here, there is still finesse and impressive dishes, but a much smaller collection. There's also a rather unique cocktail menu (which includes the Vegemitini...which I looked at with curiosity but couldn't bring myself to order).
Not entirely hungry (we'd visited the amazing Handpicked Cellar Door earlier in the afternoon -- a must-visit if you're in the area), we were okay to enjoy the smaller of the nature of the dishes (although the $80 per person sharing menu did look interesting). Naturally, I couldn't pass up Vanella Burrata (AUS$24), and Hubs was happy to enjoy a Native Rock Oyster or two (AUS$5 per oyster and an overall ubiquitous menu option across the country, no matter what style of restaurant). While I enjoyed the Burrata, I do wish it had been served with a crostini or some other cracker. Similar to my tradition of always ordering my favorite cheese, I ordered a nice, but not revolutionary Pasture fed beef tartare (AUS$20). Still feeling a bit peckish, we finished our meal with Steamed Broccolini (AUS$18) as well as Crispy Potatoes (AUS$12, served with definitely not enough sauce). As we watched the chefs, I also realized we'd sampled one of the sourdough flatbreads mini pizzas (AUS$20) while at the bar at the Old Clare, which, of all the dishes, is the one I would most likely order again.
Would I go back? While I wouldn't seek out Kensington St. Social, I think this is the perfect place to start an evening. There are enjoyable small plates and a great location/atmosphere, but I didn't see anything I would specifically make an entire meal out of. Prices also felt a bit higher than necessary.