The restaurant formerly known as Concrete Blonde might have kept the name, but it certainly has a new outlook on life; one more in keeping with the area and these times.
They’ve brought in Emmanuel Benardos (ex-Grand National), who has a reputation as a restaurant fixer.
He’s already worked his magic on the boozy side of things, starting with a slick list of cocktails, from signatures like a standout Caramel Espresso Martini ($18) built with a frothy head on Genovese Coffee, to updated classics.
Manoli promises his staff will go the extra mile; and backs it up with Sunday to Thursday BYO ($10/bottle) - if you can resist his personalised cellar tours. Mine gave rise to an interesting South African gem, the 2009 Boekhenhoutscloof ‘Porcupine Rydge’ Syrah ($68).
Patrick Dang is replaced in the gleaming kitchen by Ian Oakes (another Grand National boy), who certainly puts that eye-catching grill to better use. (You can view my earlier visit to Concrete Blonde under Chef Patrick Dang back HERE.)
You’ll see it in mains like Char-Grilled Yellowfin Tuna ($38) or the...
...slightly chewy Blackmore Wagyu Skirt Steak ($38); and generous sides...
...including Char-Grilled Zucchini ($9).
Make sure adding the excellent Thyme Gnocchi ($18) starter doesn’t prevent you from ordering dessert. The dish on the right is another starter, the Slow Roast Pork Belly ($18).
After all, the standout White Chocolate and Honeycomb Parfait ($15) gives Manoli one more occasion to flex his formidable matching skills…
He did pretty well with the Toasted Coconut Pannacotta ($15) too.
PS. If you're looking for the 'concrete blonde' take a trip to the bathrooms.
They also have very cool taps...
Shop 2/33 Bayswater Road, Kings Cross
Ph: (02) 9380 8307