IDES is the first permanent restaurant by former Attica sous chef Peter Gunn. He ran IDES for three years as a monthly pop-up before putting down roots on Smith Street in March 2016.
It’s a small, 36-seater; dimly lit, with widely spaced, grey-leather-topped tables. The only adornments are two black-and-white canvas prints, including one of a chip fryer. A central “super pass”, or plating station for the chefs, is where the bar used to be.
Gunn wanted to make sure what he was offering at IDES was different to an experience at Attica, but there are echoes of it in the quiet, grey-carpeted room; the tiny kitchen; and the set-menu structure. But these are superficial similarities. If there is a comparison to be made, it’s closer in concept to Attica’s chef’s-table nights, where the menu is loose, and it’s more about testing boundaries than providing a faultless experience.
The menu at IDES is always six-courses, but the dishes change constantly, and often at the last minute. Gunn likes to be spontaneous; he says it keeps the energy in the kitchen high. This means you never know what you’re going to get on any given night, but it keeps things interesting.
Gunn is known for punchy, technique-driven dishes that are full of flavour. Expect rich, pork broths; tender confit chicken; fish with fushimi chillies; pineapple cooked in maple syrup; or saffron ice-cream.