Everyone was a bit sad when Kitchen by Mike closed its doors some months ago – casual dining wouldn’t quite be the same again without that roast pumpkin and pork belly that you could see with your greedy eyes before they plonked a healthy serving on your plate. There was something amazing about Mike McEnearney’s eatery in Rosebery, a very specific combination of cafeteria-style service, an open kitchen where you could see all your food being made, a deli and that massive warehouse space where you could sit wherever you wanted. Luckily for us, Mike hasn’t completely left the Sydney dining scene and recently opened in his new digs, No. 1 Bent Street.
Quick disclaimer about the photos – sorry they’re such bad quality! I forgot my camera but CK kindly allowed me to use hers, but you know how it is, different camera and all…
CK and I went on day two of opening and were suitably impressed, not only by how full the joint was, but also how dedicated but calm Mike looked fixing up the final touches of each dish before they went out to be served. We started with Mike’s sourdough, with pepe saya butter ($4) which is literally the most incredible bread we’ve ever had. It has the perfect balance of fresh, crunchy crust and soft inside. And no one can complain about pepe saya butter!
We also ordered 2 other entrees, which can be found in the top half of the menu – the menu basically gets bigger in dish size as you progress down. We had the beautiful Watermelon, heirloom tomatoes, mint & haloumi ($18) which may have been my favourite dish of the night. I don’t think I’ve had watermelon and tomato together before, beautiful fresh, sweet taste with the haloumi adding some excitement and contrast to your palette. We also had the Grilled squid, braised butter beans & chorizo ($25). It came in a hot skillet (like so many other dishes on the menu) and reminded me of something you’d get at a tapas restaurant.
Next up we ordered one main and one side – and I’m so glad we did because the main was more than enough for the both of us. If you haven’t figured it out by now, all dishes are designed to share so we had the Beef cheek, bone marrow, tail & suet pot pie ($37). It was definitely the most complex beef pie I’ve ever had, and I loved the fact he used so many different cuts of meet. I was curious to know how he’d incorporate the bone marrow, and lo and behold it was right in there with the pie! If you look at the photo below you can see it poking out. For our side we chose the Sweet potato and red cabbage gratin ($12) because it was the most unusual of all the mains and we wanted to try that. The dish has a super Germanic flavour to it – I think I’ve only ever had red cabbage served warm like this in Germany, and this definitely took me back.
Time for dessert, which CK and I always have room for! The Poached quince, saffron custard & pistachio brittle ($16) sounded too good to miss, so CK got that for the both of us to try. We were suitably confused when it came out, because the saffron custard in particular looks like it should be savoury?! Like mustard?! Colours aside, it was an incredible, warming and interesting dessert. Highly recommend if you have the stomach space! I had the Apple tart fine ($14) which took me right back to the Kitchen by Mike days – I swear I would always see it behind the glass and always have to order a slice. It sounds crazy, but it was actually the vanilla ice cream that was the highlight. The intense vanilla flavour (obvious from the vanilla seeds you could see) was amazing – sometimes it’s really the simple things done right that make all the difference.
If I went again, I would probably have ordered differently though because I feel like we ordered some very heavy dishes. I think it’s important to mix it up with the salad, and maybe try the whole flathead for a lighter main. But overall, congratulations, Mike, for opening another successful restaurant, with top quality food and beautifully designed interiors!
No. 1 Bent Street
1-7 Bent Street