It’s not every day a celebrity chef moves next door. Lucky for the residents of Annerley, Ben O’Donoghue (of Surfing the Menu fame) chose this leafy suburb – once favoured by children for racing billy carts down its rippling streets – to settle with his young family. Stepping away from his first local venture, the South Bank Surf Club, O’Donoghue now runs Billykart Kitchen (and offshoot Billykart West End) alongside his wife, Dee O’Donoghue.
In its former incarnation as the Clifton Hill Store, the weatherboard corner shop once offered a bacon-and-eggs breakfast service to complement its aisles of groceries.
As Billykart with with Ben in the kitchen, the menu is more experimental, while front-of-house is managed by Dee, a hospitality heavyweight who worked alongside Luke Mangan and David Thompson.
Early risers get top pick with smoked pork hash and potato focaccia with nduja (a spreadable sausage). Lunchtime is a smooth transition to spanner crab spaghetti, grilled sardines and salt beef burgers, with a Friday night dinner menu that dips into a different world cuisine each month.
While there’s novelty in sipping Campos coffee on an otherwise off-the-map street corner, visitors will also appreciate the preserved remnants of Billykart’s corner store history.
Soft-poached eggs are served propped in their cartons, and customers can still purchase newspapers, house-made sweets, loaves from Sprout Artisan Bakery and fresh flowers.