[CLOSED] The old Assiette site boasts a casual make over, a new name and the best cheese on toast this side of Commonwealth Street
[CLOSED] There are plenty of reasons to revisit 48 Albion Street, Surry Hills: it’s the perfect chance to catch chef Warren Turnbull before he escapes to the wilds of New Zealand later in the year; you’ll want to take a gander at the-new look room; and there’s that new menu complete with way-down-low prices.
But it’s the cheese on toast that should be at the top of your list. The cheddar (from Tasmanian small producers Pyengana Dairy Company) is so light it’s almost like gently whipped cream, sitting on a single slice of soft brioche. Thin shavings of fresh black truffle and sautéed nibs of baby asparagus take it from breakfast to supper, pimped out with a scattering of plump Pedro Ximenez-soaked raisins.
It’s definitely a sunnier outlook at the old Assiette site. All the joy, finesse and skill that made Turnbull’s old restaurant such a success are still on show, only it’s a little more casual. The prices have come right down ($30 mains, $20 entrees, $15 desserts, $8 sides), the room has opened up with a lick of electric blue paint, and the raw wood blinds are open, flooding the room with natural light. Sera Kerr (ex-Four in Hand) is running the floor here now, and is even pouring some interesting craft beers, like the dark and dusty Dalgety Smoked Porter from the Snowy Mountains.
And because one venture is never enough, Turnbull has also opened a burger bar called Chur Burger around the corner on Beauchamp Lane. Word on the street is five burgers at $10 each, chips, shakes and softies. Watch this space. But for now, we’re concentrating on the buns back at Albion Street.Namely, the pull-apart milk bun loaf served with a glass jug of rosemary-infused olive oil.
Rare slices of bavette (aka flank steak) – everybody’s favourite flavoursome secondary beef cut with extra chew – is served with Turnbull’s take on nasu dengaku. Here, sweet, miso-glazed eggplant is scattered with sesame seeds, a few baby coriander leaves and a little spinach to level the sweetness.
Chlorophylliacs can back up the greenery with pan-fried zucchini and garlic butter. It’s a decent side, though main courses are pretty self-sufficient – you don’t really need the extra food. We’d probably give the chips with chilli salt a miss next round for the same reason.
You do, however, need to order the honeycomb parfait. Creamy, sweet and gooey, it’s freshened up with a quenelle of fennel custard, all snapped up with little deep golden shards of pine nut praline.
Albion Street Kitchen is a fresh, successful revision of a much-loved restaurant site. And hey – they nail the argument for serving breakfast for supper.