You’ll be hard pressed to find someone who talks as passionately about chess as Queenside owner Jim Papadakis also does about coffee. He hosts weekly chess nights at Queenside that for now are invite only, but if the locals respond well, he hopes to have a food and drink offering to accompany the games nights.
For Papadakis, Queenside’s menu is a love letter to chess. Each dish is named after a favourite chess master, a particular game strategy or chess inside joke.
Try the Fiona, a vegetarian tartine named after Luxembourg chess master Fiona Steil-Antoni. It’s served on a sweet-potato sourdough, which has a texture slightly softer than the normally chewy bread; curls of carrot and pickled beetroot sit atop a bed of avocado and tangy chunks of goat’s cheese. Yuzu-infused sesame seeds and coriander finish the dish.
There are also dishes named after grandmaster David Smerdon (whose signature play is the Scandinavian defence), such as Smurfo’s Scandi granola. It’s made with chunks of maple and honey spiced quinoa flakes topped with pieces of poached quince and rhubarb, and finished with coconut yoghurt.
Before opening Queenside, Papadakis did the rounds roasting coffee for Campos and Little Marionette. He now roasts his own for Queenside under the brand name Wanderlust Workshop. He’s a big believer in using blends to achieve a unique taste, rather than the single-origin coffees other roasters in Sydney get from the same farms and growers.
Chess references aren’t just on the menu. In the small, minimal space – which features a polished-concrete floor and blond-timber furniture – is a tiled wall of matte black geometric shapes reminiscent of chess pieces.