Three talented Claude’s defectors –Claire van Vuuren, Jo Ward and Mitch Grady – show Oxford Street’s loss is definitely Newtown’s gain. Claire explains, they picked this location to “cook for people we could relate to more.”
Local designer Matt Woods has concocted an achingly cool space using reclaimed materials, incorporating a very sexy antler light by Volker Haug. (The lights in the right image are also by Volker Haug.)
Even more exciting, as I walked past the centrally located open-plan kitchen, all three owner/chefs were in attendance on a Monday night! Perfectly executed Polenta Chips ($9) with a Gorgonzola dipping sauce show that even as they relax the rules, they can’t shake off excellent technique.
It shines in Baked Mushrooms ($17) with four varieties of mushroom cooked to perfection in a compelling sauce. Please excuse my appalling photos - we sat outside to enjoy the last vestiges of al fresco and it was very, very dark - probably because the designer lit it with the light on the right... maybe they need to drill those holes a little wider.
The highlight’s Miso Baked King Fish ($32), cooked beautifully in paper and served with a wonderfully wet radish salad.
I also tried the Lamb Kibbeh ($25) which were very subtle but as a result allowed each element to sing, with wonderfully lamb, bright tomato, delicate garlic and eggplant.
Drink from the deceptively straight-up cocktail list – yes, organic Earl Grey tea syrup makes a Bloodwood Iced Tea ($18) rather special...
...or enjoy wines like the light, lemony 2009 Fox Gordon Princess Fiano ($38). End your journey into shared cuisine (four or five dishes feed two people) with a two-spoon tango in the Bloodwood Trifle ($12) of rhubarb jelly, pomegranate ice and chunks of buttery pound cake.
416 King Street, Newtown
Ph: (02) 9557 7699