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restaurants guide


Kensington Street Social
Modern


Address :
www.whereis.com.au
3 Kensington Street
Chippendale  NSW
Phone : 02 8277 8533 
Web-site : kensingtonstreetsocial.com.au
Cards :
AE MC V eftpos 
Licensing : Licensed
Cost range :
$75 (per head for 3 courses plus coffee)
Restaurant rating :
15/20

REVIEW:
Kensington Street Social brings another renowned international chef - Jason Atherton - to Sydney. But this is the casual side to Atherton, accessible in both style and cost without losing some of the excitement that made him his fame.
There is some quirkiness and a sense of whimsy that makes this entertaining as well as (usually) delicious food served up in a high-ceilinged space with a long bar and open kitchen. A wall of louvres makes it light and wooden tables with stands of cutlery make it casual but sleek.

WINE : Perhaps a bit too much "natural" wine emphasis but a smart international selection; the top end lacks for interest and variation (and value).


KENSINGTON STREET SOCIAL

There's something missing in hospitality. Probably more than "something" but an increasing disconnect in the booking process. Booking for KSS was a pleasant, polite exchange but there was no "you'll be seated at the bar" as we found ourselves. Now, this is really no problem for two (although it would be nice to be advised) but three along a bar is not a dining option anyone wants. Given the option, we'd probably go somewhere else.

But a quickly delivered bottle of Lamandier-Bernier Longitude restored our spirits, and probably communicated the fact that we were there for a serious lunch. Explaining our seating plight it was not long before a (bar-height) table was found for us. The lofty room looks very cool in the style where bar and kitchen are part of the dining experience. Cutlery and (paper) napkins are on the tables in smart stainless holders, and a beer comes in a pewter tankard. Thereýs been a bit of thought put in to make it relaxed, but smart.

The other failure was wine knowledge. The list offers much better drinking in the "value" department, although there are some quirky, if uninspiring, selections if you want to spend up. A charming assistant-wine-person couldnýt reveal the mystery of a wine described both as "Barbera" and "Barolo" and sent the main man over. He looked offended when I told him that barbera couldn't be Barolo, and offered no further explanation. Labelled only Cascina Ebreo Segreto Vino Rosso 2006 ý it is indeed barbera, not Barolo. At $200 a bottle, someone - other than the person buying it (me) - should know WTF it is.

Except for our Champagne we're feeling a little unloved as the food arrives. This changed the game with a progression of smart bistro dishes delivered by charming staff ý excellent tongue 'n' cheek croquettes, veg-of-the-moment kale fancied up with pear and bottaga, slow-cooked egg with chicken scratchings, refined sea urchin rice with bug tail that we could have doubled up on, and decent enough wagyu, and lamb rump and shank. On trend, well-thought, well-cooked, and pretty on the plate ý but only the sea urchin rice dish really thrilled.

The three cheeses are well chosen, and three of the four available desserts showed fine craft.

The mix of seating options could be explained when booking but after one visit you know the drill. Go back? Yes, but probably only for a couple of dishes and a bottle of wine.

 
Winecall