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  • Restaurants
  • Castlecrag
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Recommended
  1. Beef tartare with an unbroken egg yolk on top, surrounded by potato crisps.
    Photography: Trent va der Jagt | S'more
  2. Caviar and potato gems
    Photograph: Supplied
  3. Shellfish with green oil, on ice.
    Photography: Jiwon Kim | S'more
  4. A bowl of pasta with pippies.
    Photography: Trent van der Jagt
  5. The chefs at S'more, under a sign saying S'MORE.
    Photography: Jiwon Kim | S'more
  6. A fancy looking dessert in a glass.
    Photography: Jiwon Kim | S'more

Time Out says

4 out of 5 stars

Behind an unmarked door in unassuming suburbia, diners in T-shirts and shorts take bumps of caviar, suck live lobster pasta, and guzzle $100 cocktails

The night before your booking at S'more, you'll receive a text. 

It's a reminder that you must spend at least $95 per person on food, that you must consume it in under two hours, and that certain premium items must be pre-ordered before 9am on the day of your reservation. These items include things that sound really, really, fancy, and are indeed really, really, expensive.

For instance, there's the live lobster pasta for $248. ‘Best of the Best’ Wagyu for $350. A bottle of Dom Perignon with caviar bumps and lobster rolls for $660. 

Strangely, the text leaves you bracing yourself for a restaurant that doesn't actually exist. Once you've parked up among the cicadas on a residential street in the leafy north shore suburb of Castlecrag, and stepped through an unmarked black door under the neon gaze of chef Sam Young's glasses, you'll realise that nothing else about this place is fancy at all.

Bare tables are bound by hard metal chairs that look fresh from their IKEA boxes. Small dishes are served on branded wax paper you'd find in a burger chain. A wall-sized blackboard displays the menu in childish bubble letters. 

Diners arrive in T-shirts and shorts. Young couples take videos on their phones. Families are loud and relaxed and let their kids play. It's not showy. It's not flash. It's all pretty lovely. 

As you settle into the rhythm of the restaurant's Motown playlist, your eyes will likely be drawn to the unusual cocktail menu. If, like us, you want something that's basically an extra dessert in a glass, the Mango Pancake is unlikely to disappoint. Vodka slices all the way through the thick, velvety mango, and leaves a white layer of vanilla cream at the bottom of your glass. For something sharper, try the Plum Margarita, the splash of umeshu not quite sweet enough to take the sting out of the tequila, garnished with salt and chilli flakes for an added kick.

The prices of drinks are reasonable, but like anything at S'more, if you want to spend money, you've always got options. The ‘Baller Cocktails’ sub-menu, for example, skyrockets to nearly $100 for a Margarita that features a dash of premium Don Julio 1942 tequila.

It's pretty hard to talk about the food without mentioning caviar. The menu is smeared with the stuff. There's an entire section dedicated to it, and most of the starters have it as a recommended $10 add-on. One option is to have a caviar ‘bump’ with a shot of premium Beluga vodka. A waiter directs the ritual on the table next to us: each diner inhales a small heap of salt-cured roe from between their thumb and forefinger, before nullifying the flavour with a winceful rinse of vodka. Nobody's left looking convinced that there's any method to the madness.

If the taste, or expense, of caviar isn't your thing, there are plenty of other options for your starter. The stracciatella arrives torn into rough white clumps, muddled in a stack of sweet, succulent tomatoes and nectarines, and salted with a herb oil that runs through the whole pile, staining the plate green. 

Also recommended: the Wagyu tartare. It comes in near-total disguise, the roof of the coral-red tenderloin veiled entirely by rings of vibrantly coloured chives and daikon, and a plump egg yolk still intact. You'll be advised to “mix it together very well” with the fork and spoon provided, and – barring any fateful errors – you'll be rewarded with big scoops of zesty, silken beef.

The potato cake is by all accounts a cult hit, and it’s hard to flaw deep-fried potato and a creamy duck egg yolk that resembles a luxe hollandaise. Avoid pairing this with a hit of caviar, though, which gets completely subsumed by the louder flavours of the main ingredients.

The large plates are as big and as bold as you'd expect. Hiding in the shadows of caps-loaded heavy-hitters - ‘RARE’ European black truffle pasta, and ‘LIVE LOCAL LOBSTER’ charcoal-roasted with pippies and curry leaf butter - there’s the XO pippies linguine. You'll smell it over your shoulder before it's in sight. It’s a umami masterclass, the handmade pasta lathered in a rich, spicy sauce, peppered with chilli pangrattato and green garlic chive, and punctuated with eight pippies, simmering in their shells, each one an explosion of seafood flavour as if just raised from the harbour.

Somehow I don't give into the unwritten, untold pressure to try a s'more at S'more. Why? Because there's something even more tempting on the dessert menu: Yuenyeung ‘Coffee with Tea’ Crème Caramel. Emitting flashes of tea and coffee in equal measure, the dessert is founded on the popular Hong Kong soft drink, named after mandarin ducks (yuanyang) whose males and females look wildly different but always appear together in pairs. Served in a coupe cocktail glass and topped with a cream quenelle, it maintains the syrupy sweetness of the classic, offset by bitter tingles of coffee.

The creators of S'more – ‘Big’ Sam Young (or ‘BSY’) and his life and business partner Grace Chen – boast resumes that, when combined, have seen them work across some of Sydney's most lavish establishments (Mr Wong, Totti's, Poly, Queen Chow, Lotus 2.0 and Est). They call S'more ‘Your Neighbourhood Bistro’, and that's exactly how it feels. But with the bonus of serving food you've never, ever had at one.

Want fine dining but without the price tag? Here are our hacks for fine dining on a budget.

Written by
Hugo Mathers


79 Edinburgh Road
Opening hours:
Tue-Fri, 5-10pm; Sat, noon-10pm
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