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restaurants guide

No. 1 Bent Street

Address :
1 Bent Street
Sydney  NSW
Phone : 02 9252 5550 
Web-site : onebentstreet.com.au
Opening times : Lunch : Monday - Friday from 11.30pm
Dinner : Monday - Saturday from 5.30pm
Cards :
AE DC MC V Eftpos 
Licensing : Licensed
Seats : 80
Cost range :
$65 (per head for 3 courses plus coffee)
Restaurant rating :

The city follow-up to Roseberry's highly-lauded Kitchen by Mike lifts the game with waiter service replacing the canteen concept which also allows for more a la carte-style dishes. A rotisserie and a wood-fired oven adding more to the menu including house-baked bread ... in the chef's words "cooking seasonally, with a less-is-more approach, very egalitarian and not too expensive".
Early days yet but it all looks exciting ...

The last time I visited this address it was Aqua Pazzo, a softly-decored Italian diner. So it was a surprise to enter the pared back, concrete and blonde-timber space that is now No. 1 Bent Street. The next was the effusive greeting from some long-term industry professionals on the floor, balancing the cool young image of Mike McEnernay of Kitchen by Mike, and the possible lack of warmth of the room on a winterýs day. Well-spaced tables allow for business conversations but give the room a somewhat stark feel.

Where Kitchen by Mike was cafeteria-style, the CBD venture offers a menu of more refined dishes without losing the essence of Mikeýs use of well-handled seasonal produce. Chicken liver pate with four-spiced salt came as a scoop of very rich liver with soft toasts ý no fuss, no fanfare. While it might be hard to make an Ash-baked eggplant, saffron, frekeh, green tahini a pretty dish this certainly tasted fantastic ý smokey from the ash, fragrant with saffron and sweetened by the green tahini. Grilled squid, braised white beans, chorizo was a perfect little pot of sweet, soft squid in a braise of tomatoey beans and smokey chorizo; itýs perhaps a simple Spanish dish, but itýs done well here.

A Tripe special opened a conversation that eventually had the non-believers (anyone force-fed tripe and white sauce as a child) converted ý think of tripe as another form of pasta to hold a sauce. If youýre a fan this is soft, sweet tripe with a great sauce.
John Dory fillets wood fired on the bone, capers, thyme was offered as flathead. Despite a corset of prosciutto, this was overcooked - sweet white flesh but coming dry off the bone ý the only real disappointment of the day.
Cabbage stuffed with pork and chestnuts is the essence of hearty winter food ý all honest food in the best sense of that descriptor, no disparagement meant.
Two seasonal fruit sweets ý poached quince, saffron custard & pistachio brittle and pear tarte fine ý suit my preference for not overly sweet desserts. There seemed more finesse here, as if the kitchen forgot it was doing a rustic thing. Lovely stuff and worth ducking out of the office for one of these and a cup of coffee (or ý go on, be naughty - a glass of sticky).

The wine list is on the modern theme of smart wines over a range of prices ... itýs concise, unexciting, but covers most bases.

Itýs the lack of pretension that worked at Kitchen by Mike that also pervades the experience here. Good food, good service, a decent wine selection, and good value are a great formula for success in the city.

14.5 / 20