Kensington Street Social opened earlier in 2016, and despite all the hype due to an international chef, I still hadn’t made it there, and didn’t make it there until late May. The occasion was my best friend’s birthday, and we had a reservation for 6:30pm on a Friday night. Even months after the opening, the restaurant is still rather busy, and I’d recommend making a reservation.
The restaurant is situated within Old Clare Hotel, on Kensington Street. The decor was industrial, dark and chic. Upon arrival, the wait staff showed me to our seats, which she assured me, were, “the best seats in the house”.
I was given copies of the wine and cocktails menu to peruse. Kensington Street Social has an interesting cocktail list, with some bizarre ingredients ranging from vegemite to cereal.
C chose the squid ink crackers, which were an ominous shade of black, served with a light mayonnaise featuring trout roe and dried cucumber. The crackers were light, and apart from the colour, I have a real time ever detecting any trace of squid ink flavour in food. I enjoyed the pop of the trout roe in my mouth, but otherwise could have done without this dish.
The oysters were large, fresh and served with a tangy and peppery vinaigrette that reminded me of summer.
I had actually tried the kingfish a few months prior, at Taste of Sydney, and it piqued my interest in Kensington Street Social. The kingfish was fresh, with pieces of dried kale togarashi, pickled ginger, a tangy green sauce that contrasted with the creamy mayonnaise.
There was a long wait in between our entrees and our mains. The sea urchin rice was the first of the mains to be served, with a chicken bisque that was poured over the top of the rice. The rice had a crisp layer, while the bisque added saltiness.
The mulloway had a crisp top layer of skin, with an interior that flaked apart softly. The potato broth was comforting, with fresh, soft pippies.
After the mulloway, we had one more main dish which we waited a ridiculously long time for. There must have been some mix up, because we had a staff member come over and ask us if we had received it already, and then bring it out, perhaps another 20 minutes after that (we had already been waiting for it about half an hour). Our last main was the MBS 5+ Wagyu, miso butterscotch with eggplant and broccolini ($38). I was so hungry and eager to eat the wagyu that I forgot to take a photo, but the wagyu was hands down the best savoury dish of the evening. The meat was seared pink in the middle, with a sweet miso butterscotch sauce (there is nothing I love more than meat paired with a sweet sauce).
To finish off with, we shared the chocolate and peanut bar for dessert. C does not have a sweet tooth, but thoroughly enjoyed the rich flavours of the creamy chocolate and peanut bar, complemented by the caramel and banana ice cream. There were so many different flavours in the dessert, but because they all complemented each other, it turned out lovely.
The service here was professional, but more on the cool and aloof side.
C rated Kensington Street Social as her “new favourite restaurant”, while I merely liked it, but wouldn’t bother returning anytime in the near future.