When Kitchen by Mike first opened in Rosebery it was a revelation. Just like in American films, you took your lunch tray and shuffled along the counter selecting your meal components, but unlike American films, we weren't talking sad casserole and scary surprise bake – the food at Kitchen By Mike was excellent. You could select a portion of roasted chicken or some porchetta to go with your salads that roamed from fresh beans with fetta and almonds to orange and fennel, plus roast veggies, good bread, and proper condiments. You could also tack on a sweet treat, a fresh juice, good coffee: it was a choose-your-own adventure where there were no bad decisions.
The Rosebery shop closed, but then Kitchen by Mike opened up at the international terminal, changing all your expectations about airport food with one, tiny, handheld bacon butty. We reckon they were single-handedly responsible for a whole lot more people making sure they were through customs three hours before their flight time, just to eat here before take off.
In ripper news for CBD lunch crowds, Kitchen by Mike is now set to open in the city in early May. Mike McEnearney is taking over the space that formerly housed his higher end restaurant, No. 1 Bent Street, and replacing it with his brand of killer canteen fare.
The restaurant will be open at breakfast time and he's bringing his famous tiny sandwich out from behind the customs booths and into central Sydney, plus sourdough pancakes with lemon curd, Asian greens slaw with a soft boiled egg, or avo toast with barley miso, toasted nori, and coriander.
But lunch is where we expect people to really lose it. The promise of the ultimate, customisable meal will have people queueing to choose salads, wood-roasted or slow-cooked meats (maybe it's beer can jerk chicken, or twice cooked pork belly with piccalilli), tartines, slices of pizza and pastries from the central counter. Double dose with vitamins in cold-pressed juices; sharpen your afternoon focus with Five Senses coffee or have a wine with lunch.
If you're worried about how your lunch habits affect the environment, you're not alone. This is a 'no single-use plastic' zone and you can buy reusable bento boxes that earn you a discount on return visits. They're also opening for dinner, but it's table service and sharing plates.
Kitchen by Mike CBD opens on Wednesday, May 1 at 1 Bent Street, Sydney 2000.
Want some casual pasta right now? Book a table at one of the best Italian restaurants in Sydney.