One of my favourite restaurant visits last year was Antipodea in Kew Village – busy, buzzy and, oh, the food. Little wonder, then, that the success of that spot has given its Aussie owners the chance to open a flagship joint in Putney – with an in-house butchers and bakers – and, more recently, this branch in Richmond.
Brand trademarks are all on show – a roaring enclosed fire to the back, walls full of nods to the homeland and plenty of pot plants. Unfortunately, hits and misses came in equal measure on a menu that now feels pared down to accommodate the demands of a nascent chain-in-waiting.
High on the hits list were still the steaks and the barramundi, Australia’s answer to sea bass – it was moist, chunky, pan-seared to crisp the skin and had an eyebrow-raising flavour. Misses? A poor starter of too-greasy padron peppers and an ‘AFC’ chicken – Down Under’s buttermilk answer to The Colonel – which was soggy and lacked a much-needed punch, even when served with sriracha mayo.
The patty of a great-sounding burger was ridiculously thin and, considering it had been sourced from the same beast as the house steaks, frustratingly shallow on taste, too. Dessert was also yin and yang – a huge nutella pizza sprinkled with bananas and hazelnuts was the stuff of legend, but a meek and tiny banoffee pie disappointed. Top tip: they can’t keep their homemade bread (steeped high in the window) into the next day, so offer it gratis around tables towards the end of the evening, or as you leave. I was given a rather lovely fig and walnut loaf to go home with – a good way to go out in anyone’s books.