A sigh of disappointment was heard across Sydney when Mike McEnearney shuttered the original Rosebery outpost of his casual canteen, Kitchen By Mike.
Happily, the respected chef has reopened the much-loved diner, this time in the CBD. Serving breakfast, lunch and dinner during the week (and dinner on Saturdays), the space is industrial without feeling cold and service is efficient, convivial and warm. Expect to rub shoulders with a mixed crowd of suited city workers, wandering tourists and long-term McEnearney fans. The only tricky thing about dinner at Kitchen By Mike is deciding what to order from a menu brim-full of simple, elegant and entirely delicious dishes.
Start with house-baked bread (don’t skip a generous spread of Pepe Saya butter) and then fill the table with share plates that might include: a milky knot of Vanella burrata with a sour, peppery and salty complement of grilled lemon, rocket and capers; velvety, rich chicken liver pâté; a warming white bean and chorizo stew topped with a fillet of tender Bass Grouper; broccoli, split lengthways, grilled and topped with a moreish chilli and anchovy sauce; and a cos hearts, pomegranate and walnut salad that’s crisp and refreshing. Among the many highlights, chilled vanilla rice pudding with honeycomb and plum jam – Mike’s grandmother’s recipe – is not to be missed.
The evening drinks list skews Australian, with a concise edit of local drops – Mada Wines Pinot Gris is a stand out – and cocktails that utilise only Aussie ingredients. Select beers, spirits and non-alcoholic options round out the beverage offering.
Atmosphere: Cool canteen by day, laid-back diner by night
Best for: Easy work lunches or relaxed dinners
Cuisine: Modern Australian
Standout dish: Chilled vanilla rice pudding with honeycomb and plum jam
Open: Monday - Friday for breakfast, lunch and dinner; Saturday for dinner.
Address: 1 Bent Street, Sydney
Phone number: (02) 9252 5550