The Golden Pig is dead. Long live The Golden Pig. It was a desire for a new challenge that inspired Katrina Ryan to convert her immensely popular Newstead cafe and cooking school into a pan-Asian restaurant, launching this week.
Ryan’s not known for shying away from a challenge. She cut her teeth in Sydney, becoming head chef at Rockpool before running her own restaurants with husband Mark Ryan. Eventually, the Ryans moved their young family north to Queensland.
“I pretty much left working in restaurant kitchens when I had my first child, and he’s nearly 24,” Katrina says. The move was to teach at Spirit House in Yandina, before later opening The Golden Pig in Newstead.
The addition of a cafe to The Golden Pig made the venue an inner-north favourite, the Ryans doing a neat side business in hiring out the handsome, former motorcycle workshop for functions. But according to Katrina, the time is right for something new.
“We’d been talking about opening an Asian restaurant for a while,” she says. “[Because] a lot of my background is in Asian cuisine.”
The Ryans looked at a few different venues for the refreshed concept but ultimately decided to stay put in Newstead, running the restaurant at nights and retaining the cooking school on Sundays and Mondays. “I just had to try and meld the two ideas [of] running a cooking school and operating a restaurant at night,” Ryan says, “and get the kitchen to function for both purposes.”
Mark, a building designer and former chef, redesigned the open kitchen to accommodate the dual purposes, adding a cold room walled off with natural timber panelling and more storage. The rest of the venue remains mostly the same, with a lick of paint and a few additional storage spaces. There are elements still to come, including courtyard dining, artwork and shelving.
As part of the relaunch, a bar now sits at the entrance looking out over a casual space of vintage couches and low coffee tables, with the dining room extending out the back. The bar is open from 5pm for drinks and bar snacks of bao, dumplings and fried pork meatballs.
The dinner menu, a fusion of mostly Thai influences with some Chinese-, Vietnamese- and Japanese-style dishes, was put together by Ryan and will be executed in the kitchen by Sarah Hockings.
Standout dishes include betel leaf (grown in the courtyard garden) with tea smoked Ora King salmon, fresh coconut, tamarind and grape; and Sichuan spiced half duck with mandarin, miso, black vinegar and star anise.
A full wine list features French varieties, playing on the French influence in Vietnam, as well as lighter drops that pair with Asian foods. It’s backed by an Asian-inspired cocktail list and a vast array of craft beers.
The Golden Pig
38 Ross Street, Newstead
(07) 3666 0884
Tue to Thu 5.30pm–9pm
Fri & Sat 5.30pm–10pm
Tue to Sat From 5pm