Imagine if two mates who used to run gyms together decided to open a restaurant. What comes to mind? Probably not something like Hummingbird Bar & Restaurant, a decadent, high-end diner that opened in Rosalie earlier this month. “[We’re] foodies. We were always looking at doing a food and wine venue,” says Ben Jenson, who co-owns Hummingbird with Ben Shepherd. “[We wanted to] start off with something small and see where it takes us.”
Jenson and Shepherd initially thought about opening Hummingbird somewhere central, like James Street or in the CBD. Instead, they settled on Rosalie’s busy strip of cafes and casual-dining restaurants. “It fitted what we are trying to achieve – that top-end dining,” Jenson says.
The space, which previously belonged to a Burger Fuel, was completely gutted and re-built by Jenson, a builder by trade. The duo designed the fit-out themselves, applying lots of timber and stone to create a distinctive dark, polished look.
Chef Nathan Wood’s (ex-Bucci, Il Molo) menu is split into “Begin” and “Continue”. You could start with butter-poached red claw yabby with smoked bacon and artichoke velouté; or pork neck with braised apple. “Continue” features dishes such as an assiette of lamb served smoked, charred and braised; and a pan-roasted John Dory fillet with salt-baked celeriac. Vegetarians are well catered for with a butternut pumpkin soufflé and an elegant shiitake mushroom tortellini with truffle.
A weekend breakfast doesn’t do things by halves either: think 62-degree duck egg with charred brioche soldiers, crisp jamon, basil water terrine and sweet corn custard; or a classy take on Spanish baked eggs with chorizo, black pudding, broad beans, romesco sauce and a truffle pecorino crust.
Drinks are a comprehensive list of Australia, European and New Zealand wines, a clutch of tap beers and a short cocktail menu. Coffee and tea comes from Murarrie’s Epica Espresso.