What’s uncommon about Uncommon., a new eatery by business partners Will Newton and Alexandra Luk, is that while it subscribes to the unprocessed, chemical-free, whole-food movement, it doesn’t whack you over the head with it.
“We don’t want to be palm trees and Combi vans,” says Newton. “We want people to eat the food and not really know it was healthy until they are told.”
“It forces us to be really creative,” adds chef Matt Kennedy. “When other places put together a sweet-and-sour dish, for example, they use a lot of sugar. We don’t want to use any sugar, so instead we need to come up with other ways to create that same flavour profile.”
Uncommon. opened in December on a site that was once vintage and industrial-design store, Tarlo & Graham.
For the Uncommon. team, eating well is as much about eating food that has been organically, ethically and sustainably grown and reared as it is about eating sprouts and seeds. While the healthy angle is obvious in dishes such as the acai bowl or the morning super salad with coconut, kale, quinoa and spirulina, it’s less so in the salmon pastrami with whipped honey, or the Cape Grim Wagyu beef short rib with a fried egg and a pesto made from river mint – a native Australian herb.
“We never want to sacrifice flavour or complexity in our dishes,” says Newton.
The drinks are all coffees, fresh juice, smoothies and young coconuts – the only thing in bottles is the booze. Lou Chalmer, from natural-wine haven Clever Polly’s, has curated the list. She has put together a short-but-solid selection of minimal-intervention wines and beers. Once Uncommon. starts to open for dinner (about mid-February), it will add cocktails to the menu, using house-made tonics and mixers.
The uncommon theme extends into the details, too. The furniture has been fashioned from timber salvaged from a munitions factory, water is served in stumpy Spanish wine glasses, and coffee from Industry Beans is served on little silver trays: “We didn’t want saucers,” says Newton, “everyone has saucers.”
“We’ve tried to create an overall aesthetic, so down to the plants, the type of music we play, the type of plates that we use. We want it to feel like it all comes from the same place,” says Luk. “But an uncommon place.”
60 Chapel Street, Windsor
(03) 9510 6655
Mon to Fri 7am–3.30pm
Sat & Sun 8am–3.30pm