[THIS VENUE IS CLOSED] One of Sydney’s hottest young chefs is cooking up amazing eats in Naremburn
[THIS VENUE IS CLOSED] We were always going to expect big things from Maslow's. When it was in its previous home of Pymble, it felt like it opened up a new, cooler era for the Upper North Shore. But then, patron-chef Jack New hitched it to Edition Coffee Roasters in Darlinghurst (where he remains executive chef) and boy do we love that place – so much so that we awarded it Best Café at our 2015 Time Out Sydney Food Awards. We also nominated New for our Hot Talent award in the same year. You can see why we were excited about his new café.
The new location is not the striking, achingly beautiful space that both the old Maslow’s and Edition are. It’s got a bit of a Nordic vibe, but the tiled floor and feature wall feel a bit daggy – we would have loved more of the edginess we saw in what was effectively a garage in the old café.
No matter, this place is about one thing, and that’s the food. Order the dashi omelette with braised pork, because it’s all kinds of amazing. New created the recipe by mixing dashi with soy sauce, mirin, eggs and cream, then fine straining it all before cooking. The result is one of the silkiest, more flavourful omelettes of your life. Inside is pork belly braised long and slow until the fat has melded with the meat to the point of unctuous, softest tenderness. It’s been cooked with brown sugar and is slightly sweet, so when it’s paired with the umami notes of dashi in the omelette, it’s a lesson in balance. It’s served with brioche (which feels unnecessary), a crisp, refreshing shaved red cabbage salad replete with curly parsley (we’ve missed you brother) and little dots of mayo. It’s just a beautiful-tasting plate of food, a five star dish all itself, and we’re still thinking about it.
Another dish sees a range of Japanese mushrooms laid on top of brioche – although the menu claims it will be ‘rye’, which would have worked better. We assume they ran out, but maybe they should have mentioned that. The mushrooms are buttery and caramelised on one side, soft and tender on the other. There’s a fried egg on there and some crème fraîche, the creamy acidity of which is the best of friends with earthy mushrooms. For our money, get an onsen egg on the side too – they are cooked overnight and the whites are so silky, the yolks so sticky and rich, that you really shouldn't leave here without trying one.
A new dish on the menu is called the ‘N.W.A.’ (Nigiris With Attitude) and it’s a pretty spectacular looking thing. Swathes of raw salmon are draped across three croquettes of mashed potato, dotted with peas and infused with lemon. They are surrounded by fresh fennel, curls of raw zucchini and a sauce of egg yolk and lemon infused with smoked sakura (cherry blossom) wood from Japan. Right, first off, this dish needs work: the raw zucchini doesn’t work, and the croquettes are effectively just deep fried mashed potato, which is odd when you’re eating them with raw fish. But the sauce is a refined thing, and the little pops of native beach banana are inspired – it’s a succulent with a peppery flavour and pleasing crunch. New forages them from a garden just a few streets away. Although it’s not quite there yet, this could be a great dish.
The coffee is excellent, with New sourcing his beans from Seven Seeds Coffee Roasters in Melbourne. The flat white is elegant but ballsy, with a robust, smoky finish. If it’s hot out, though, we recommend a refreshing Elixir Speciality Coffee, which is like the cold drip of your dreams. It smells of citrus, has the texture of smooth whisky and the gentle flavour of gently smoked chocolate, without any of the requisite bitterness. Don’t miss it.
It’s what we’ve been saying all year: New is a chef to watch. The food here is defined by the singular vision of one man, and it’s a vision of creativity. There is such complexity in every dish, it feels more like a restaurant than a café (so it makes sense that they have just begun to open at night). But it’s that level of food at café prices, so you’re really getting the best of both worlds. And we’re pretty stoked those worlds collided to form this fantastic little eatery. Naremburn, aren’t you lucky.
286 Willoughby Rd
|Opening hours:||Tue-Wed 7:30am-4:30pm; Thu, Fri 7.30am-4.30pm and 6pm-late; Sat 8am-3pm and 6pm-late; Sun 8am-3pm|