“What we want is to create a Kellett Street dining strip,” says Nina Purton, the bubbly owner of The Silly Tart Kitchen. As former resident of the suburb, I’m of course reminded of the eighties and nineties, when (prior to Premier Mike Baird) the suburb’s bars and restaurants were thriving.
Purton believes it’s high time that we relearn how to do more than just go out to dinner. In attempt to restore our bar hopping, live music culture she has come to the party by opening up from 5pm-9pm Wednesday to Friday evenings, with occasional live music and a well-priced supper menu.
In this fairy-lit secret garden setting you’ll find rustic, homely, unsophisticated but charming food.
If you are going out for dinner later, tiny bites like Asparagus Spears ($2/each), wrapped in bacon they make on premises, will give your stomach something to work on without filling you up.
Ditto a pretty plate of Highlands Cheddar ($5) accompanied by crisp green apple, raw honey and black pepper.
The cheese is a good foil to a well-proportioned decanter of Sangria ($35) that’s kept light and accessible through the use of rosé and summer fruits.
The more generous Pork, Fennel and Pistachio Terrine ($14/2 pieces) might not result in a photo that guarantees you Insta-fame, but it certainly slays on flavour. The savoury, meaty terrine is set off by house-made pickles, with balancing sweetness provided by the clever French toast delivery system.
The Antipasto For Two ($25) provides enough cheese, chicken liver pate, sourdough, house-made tomato relish and assorted fresh fruit and vegetable crudités to fuel a good exploration of their wine list. Everything is available by the glass, with an emphasis on boutique, locally produced and family-run.
If I’d gotten through my sangria though, I’d have been more inclined to give their pretty fold-down gin bar a workout. It offers up a bounty of locally distilled favourites from Ink Gin (made in the Northern Rivers) to Rosebery’s Archie Rose.
If you find yourself sinking into this place – and you will if you like heart more than sophistication – skip your fancy dinner in favour of Josh Cook’s Scratched Pasta ($25). It’s a wonderfully rustic pasta dish cooked with confit chicken thigh and plants from the vertical garden. The fresh herbs are made into a vibrant pesto with lemon, lime, green chilli and almond, with some extra leaves scattered on the resulting dish. The lemon balm and Vietnamese cress were particularly awesome, and all the better for dining right underneath the place they’re grown.
NOTE: See a previous review for this venue HERE.
The Silly Tart Kitchen
1 Kellett Street, Kings Cross
Ph: (02) 9331 1048