Redfern restaurants for your hit list
Around the corner, sister restaurant Kepos Street Kitchen boasts serious breakfast cred – and the queues to back it up. But over here it's about the nighttime crowd. Owner and head chef is Michael Rantissi is Israeli born, so you can expect lots of tahini, lamb, flatbreads and eggplant on the menu. Which is just how we want it.
David Jank and Brett Pritchard are the dynamic duo behind beloved Redfern small bar Arcadia Liquors, and they've expanded their South Sydney empire with a little 50-seat European eatery just around the corner from the popular destination. You'll find the kitchen firing on all pistons, pumping out simple pastas like al dente spaghetti with tender clams, fresh diced tomato, chilli and garlic; or a slow-cooked, comforting lamb ragu; and they boast an easy-drinking wine list for a midweek meal.
The interior might be a wash of gold-hued minimalism – big globe lights illuminate long communal tall tables; an acrylic letter sign reads ‘Let’s get married already’ amen to that) and a gold plated bar running right down the middle, but it’s the the staff, snacks and cocktails that are the sparkle on this Redfern gem.
With a knife and fork in hand, anything, technically, can be a share plate – even a pie – but without question the best sharing food is dumplings. Those hot little flavour pucks come individually wrapped for optimum snacking efficiency, plus they shine brightest when paired with booze. And the one thing Redfern was missing since cheap Chinese eatery Wah Fung closed was a dumpling bar, and now they have one.
You know a place has its meat-free options sorted when you find you almost prefer the vegan version of your favourite Thai dish. The massaman curry here is a ripper. We don’t know how but they’ve managed to get those deep savoury notes into the creamy sauce and then padded it out with potato, tofu, mushrooms, snow peas, broccoli and peanuts. It also comes with a side of nutty, filling quinoa and brown rice so that you’re filled to the corners for just shy of $14.
Age Durrant and Selena Murray are banging the pans and we've heard rumblings that someone in the kitchen has spent time working at Sean's Panaroma. Indeed, there are a few dishes on the menu you might recognise from the popular beachside restaurant, such as the borscht, which they're calling beetroot and smoked paprika soup with kipflers. We're hearing good things about their Philly cheesesteak, too.
They are all about nautical paraphernalia, smashing crabs and having a good time at the Château de Crustacean. Arm yourself with some claw crackers, rubber gloves and a plastic bib and get ready to dive into a bag of Southern style swimmers. Choose from blue, spanner or Alaskan snow crabs or whole Queensland prawns. Then get ready to mix it up with either Singapore, Cajun, Creole butter, lemon pepper or Kerala sauce. You'll also find lobster rolls, fried chicken and oysters too. Add in a bottle of Budweiser and you've got one messy-but-fun night out.
This vegan restaurant on Cleveland Street do great dumplings – silky thin wrappers are washed in a light soy sauce and filled with tofu, black mushrooms and carrot and scattered with dried chilli. The ancient pearls is the house take on sang choy bow. A rubble of eggplant, carrot, green beans and bean shoots is cupped in a perfectly shaped lettuce leaf, which makes for messy but tasty eating. Don’t be afraid to slap on the chilli sauce – it’s a mild version that’s more flavour than heat.