First Impressions: Kensington Street Social – Chippendale (Sydney)

British Michelin-starred chef Jason Atherton, he who runs Pollen Street Social and was once behind Gordon Ramsay’s famous Maze, has now seen his first Sydney restaurant and bar, Kensington Street Social officially open to the public. Part of Loh Lik Peng’s Old Clare Hotel, KSS is directly in-line with what has made Atherton such a renowned culinary force, fashioned by an award-winning architecture and design firm (Neri & Hu), and serving up some interesting, unique food and drink.

The space is a mix of industrial elements, nodding to the venue’s history as the former Carlton United Brewery with original wooden panelling and tiling, blended with a contemporary design features like brass light rods that are worked around the open island kitchen which lines the center. Counter seating and custom timber tables contribute to a capacity of around 118 diners, amble space for both hotel guests and visitors alike. The kitchen is big and spacious enough for the chef’s to do multiple things at once, smoothing out the ambitious process of KSS taking care of room service, providing food for the hotel’s stunning rooftop pool bar, and operating as an all-day restaurant.

Also from London’s Maze is Exec. Chef Rob Daniels who has had a big involvement in the menu, focusing on British and Mediterranean flavours which have been adapted to quality local produce.

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English Breakfast Tea & Toast; Source: Kensington Street Social

A versatile all-day dining menu with different options for breakfast, lunch, and dinner means that there are plenty of ways to enjoy a sitting at KSS, offering a range that encompasses unique snacks, like various flatbreads and gourmet hotdogs, right alongside the more upscale dishes like a bisque of sea urchin rice, Moreton Bay bug tail, and sea blight, and braised & roasted Berkshire pork chop with sugarloaf, cabbage, and sweet & sour turnips. Even the snacks are inventive and just as worthwhile, with an example being the playful English Breakfast Tea & Toast with wild mushroom tea, gentleman’s relish, and bone marrow toast. Dessert options include the Zokoko alto beni chocolate souffl√© with macadamia ice cream.

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slow cooked hen’s egg; credit: Kensington Street Social

Other eye-catching dishes include a sightly slow-cooked hen’s egg with roasted corn, seaweed, parmesan, sage crubs, and roasted chicken scratchings, and Queensland spanner crab with frozen cucumber gazpacho and rhubarb.

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There’s a carefully curated wine list on offer here, but the range of signature cocktails seems the best way to go, with tongue-in-cheek creations like the cereal killer, a blend of Ketel One Vodka, fruit loop milk, candy stripe, apricot, and Aperol in a milk carton, the curious vegemiteini with Tanqueray Gin, Vermouth blend, Vegemite brine, and Vegemite shard, the hipster breakfast, which is banana bread infused Pampero Rum with cold drip coffee, salt butter, and Fernet Branca, and the Vermouth? You can’t handle Vermouth with Bulleit Bourbon, Vermouth blend, watermelon, and Campari (pictured above). Though one of our absolute favourites would have to be the well-named fig trouble in little Cynar (headline image) with Reposado Tequila, oloroso, fig shrub, Cynar, orange biggers, and rosemary smoke.

With Kensington Street now well and truly taking shape as a diverse lively precinct and dining destination, from the more upscale Automata and Silvereye to accessible hawker hub Spice Alley and now the playful KSS, Chippendale’s latest hub is certainly leading the ‘new’ Sydney, bringing in top chefs from all around the world to do so.

Kensington Street Social

Address: 3 Kensington St, Chippendale.
Contact: (02) 8277 8533
Website: http://kensingtonstreetsocial.com/
Breakfast: Mon-Fri 7am-10:30am; Sat 8am-10:30am; Sun 8am-11am
Lunch: Mon-Sat 12pm-2:30pm; Sunday 11am-2:30pm
Dinner: Mon-Sat 6pm-10pm; Sun 6pm-8pm

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Chris Singh

Chris Singh is an Editor-At-Large at the AU review, loves writing about travel and hospitality, and is partial to a perfectly textured octopus. You can reach him on Instagram: @chrisdsingh.