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New eating and drinking spots at The Working Capitol

An early look at the new dining and boozing hangouts at the corner of Keong Saik Road

Yes, many ahead-of-the-curve creative types get down to business at this recently launched co-working space, but Keong Saik Road's new mega corner unit also houses restaurants and cafés within its dressed-up shophouse space. Here are three that have recently whirred into life at The Working Capitol.

Watch this space for more on Luxe, a bar/bistro offshoot of the Sydney café empire opening soon. 

Lollapalooza
Photo: Lollapalooza
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Lollapalooza

After feeding a loyal set of diners at its Ann Siang Road restaurant, Lolla sprouts an offshoot that takes up ground floor space at Working Capitol. Former Kaixo chef-owner Isaac Lee, armed with his Le Cordon Bleu chops, pushes out the same provenance-conscious, cuisine-defying sharing plates at Lollapalooza that defined its sister establishment.

Depending on the produce the kitchen manages to pull in, 25 or so dishes ($8-$55) are whipped up daily in the apple wood-fuelled oven. Pig’s brain fritters, milk-braised suckling pig and cockscomb risotto are just a few of the dishes that challenge flavour and ingredient conventions. These sharing plates and the 120 bottle-strong selection of wines, selected by sommelier co-owner Thaddeus Yeo, can be taken in on one of the banquette booths or an 8m-long communal table in the Scandinavia-cool room.

And if you were wondering about the name, Lollapalooza references its 'things out of the ordinary' dictionary definition, not so much the indie music festival. The restaurant is currently open for dinner, with plans to open for lunch and brunch in the works. 

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Neon Pigeon
Photo: Neon Pigeon
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Neon Pigeon

Two doors down from Lollapalooza, Neon Pigeon borrows culinary reference from Japan and graffitied visual cues from New York. The no-reservations room of dark woods, pigeon references and a wall mural by local street artist ZERO angles itself as a hip izakaya with sharing dishes like tsukune sliders ($10), oxtail-enriched miso and Hokkaido buttered corn broth ($9), and a bibimbap-esque bacon rice studded with crispy pork skin ($16).

Helming the kitchen is head chef Justin Hammond or, as he is referred to, the ‘director of bird feed’. Formerly from Melbourne’s Gingerboy, a restaurant inspired by South-East Asian street food, Hammond attracted the attention of the Pigeon’s new-to-market owners, Rohit Roopchand, Michael Goodman and Michael Macnab, who together make up The Dandy Partnership.

On the boozy side of the menu, affordable cocktails like Harajuku Girl ($16) and Throw a Kyuri-Ken ($14) work in Japanese ingredients like yuzu, shiso leaves and plum bitters into the mix. And because sake's so integral to Japanese dining culture, the spot's even got its own branded sake, a dry-ish Neon Pigeon Junmai Daiginjo ($28/180ml), picked to pair with the food issued out of its kitchens.

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The Capitol Cafe
Photo: Natasha Hong
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The Capitol Cafe

With The Working Capitol's co-working spaces on the upper levels of the building, the pop-up Capitol Cafe on the ground floor almost doubles like the third space's hip canteen.

The Neil Road-facing spot, however, is open to the public, who can pop in for a pull of Singleshot's lighter-bodied fruity Guatemalan-Colombian-Ethiopian blend ($4-$5.50), brewed in the café's eggshell blue Synesso machine. Cold-pressed juices ($5) like apple lemon/lime, mint, tomato and beetroot cater to those on a clean-eating streak, and two beers by the bottle ($10) – Asahi and Negra Modelo – help take the edge off a hard day's graft. 

Open from now until mid-May, when a new café/bar will take over its space, The Capitol Cafe a small menu of breakfast-inspired and panini options like beef pastrami ($8), peanut butter Nutella sandwich ($6) and cheese toasties ($5) designed for a light lunch or afternoon snack. 

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