Waves of deja vu start crashing as you enter Longshore, Jarrod Walsh and Dorothy “Dot” Lee’s sustainable seafood diner inside the old Automata space. There’s the open kitchen, where Clayton Wells and the team used to bang out thrilling degustations for the better part of seven years. The long central table remains, as does the mezzanine upstairs.
But where Automata’s sleek stylings were a flush fit for Wells' surgically precise plates, Longshore is a different kettle of fish. Walsh and Lee – the duo who ushered Newtown’s Hartsyard into its much-loved final act – are bringing the warm, neighbourhood energy of their old Enmore Road diner to Chippendale’s Kensington Street precinct.
“What we were doing at Hartsyard is what we loved to do,” Walsh tells Broadsheet. “So we hope people can come here and relate to that. It’s just a little bit more turned up, with new stuff you haven’t seen.”
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The duo has given the space a glow up with the help of Guru Projects – the brief to look like Automata’s “complete opposite” without gutting the old restaurant. Now it’s awash with oceanic tones, and texture from rope detailing. Once a cool concrete block, the kitchen counter (“the sand dune”) is now a sandy terrazzo sight.
Walsh and Lee – executive chef and front-of-house gun, respectively – are avid diners as well as restaurateurs; shouting out Ester, The Rover and Pellegrino 2000 nearby. How they like to eat out was a big driver behind Longshore’s seafood direction.
“If we’re going to be spending money, we like to spend it on seafood,” says Lee. “You can go to Meat Emporium [in Alexandria] and pick up a steak that’s restaurant quality. But if you go to the Sydney fish market, you won’t necessarily get some of the things we’re doing here.”
Walsh and Lee say their restaurant hit list is never-ending, and it’s hard to justify repeat visits. That’s why Longshore is set up for anything. Come for a la carte and five-course tasting menus, or hop on a 10-course flight of bite-sized snacks.
“It’s something really fun and gives you a taste of what we’re doing without having to commit to a two-hour dinner,” says Lee.
Fermenting, curing, pickling and pressing, as well as using Asian ingredients in unexpected ways, were all part of Walsh’s Hartsyard playbook. At Longshore, he’s also having wicked good fun. The evidence: abalone party pies. They’re like the hot, flaky, three-bite things straight out of your childhood – but fancy as hell, and served with a glop of pine mushroom ketchup.
Otherwise, there are grilled skewers of Clarence River baby octopus, marinated in smoked soy; medallions of raw yellowfin tuna licked with fermented habanero paste, and served with pomelo and bergamot jam; and steamed sand whiting bathing in XO pipi butter and green garlic. Meat’s on the menu, too – look out for grilled Westholme Wagyu tri-tip with bone marrow sauce and smoked beef fat. Finish up with melon custard: candied melon with burnt melon skin oil, shiso and toasted sobacha tea.
Sustainability is at the heart of Longshore, from the kitchen to the zero-waste cocktail program. Leftover strawberries from the kitchen are used to infuse whisky for your Strawberry Old Fashioned, which is placed on a Defy Design coaster made from recycled plastic.
Lee says they’re using the 150-strong wine list to champion female, non-binary and transgender producers: “It’s our way to show our support to all of the wonderful producers out there … we’re super passionate about what we’re offering.”
The selection is heavy on white varietals perfect with seafood, with more than 35 by-the-glass options and half bottles available.
”We want people to walk past on a Friday afternoon and sit outside and have a glass of wine with some bread and cheese and it’s so fine,” says Walsh. “We don’t want to just be a destination restaurant.”
5 Kensington Street, Chippendale
(02) 8277 8522
Fri & Sat 12pm–3pm and 5.30pm–late