Eighteen-hour-braised beef brisket lasagne isn’t what you’d expect from a casual eatery at a suburban golf club, but Marrickville Golf Club’s newly opened Wharf St Kitchen is run by the team behind Dulwich Hill cafe The General. Founded by fine-dining chefs Dave Moran and Josh McPhee in 2015, The General is well-loved for its uncompromisingly fresh, consistently delicious menu. Wharf St Kitchen is no different.
“We want to do really honest pub food, with everything made from scratch,” Moran tells Broadsheet. “You know how pub food can be disappointing sometimes? The idea is to take those classic pub dishes and make them really good quality.”
It’s a labour-intensive proposition. When Broadsheet catches up with Moran at The General digs on Marrickville Road, he’s just finished cooking the beef brisket and is about to make the bechamel’s roux, both to be layered into a winning lasagne. Gnocchi is hand-rolled, chicken schnitzel is dredged in a house-made crumb, while the gravy and red wine jus are made from scratch. Even the components of the salads are chopped to order.
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“Every main comes with shoestring fries and a salad. We do crisp iceberg lettuce, fresh dill, cucumbers and cherry tomatoes in a buttermilk dressing.”
When he eats out, Moran’s all-time favourite meal is steak frites – and one of his pet peeves is when kitchens are mean with the sauce. “I get upset when it comes out and there’s not enough gravy. We try to be really generous. It takes a couple of days to make, starting with a base of beef and roasted chicken bones, then it’s reduced with red wine. We call it ‘real gravy’.”
Moran and McPhee are also bringing back the taco special from their cafe's old night-time operations. Every Friday night, $20 will get you a trio of tacos stuffed with either pork brisket, spicy chicken or fluffy golden corn fritters.
Stopping the popular dinner service at The General in 2018 was important for the chefs’ work–life balance – particularly as dads of young kids – but it also sowed the seed for Wharf St Kitchen. “We were doing crazy hours, and when we stopped nights we had a bit more time so we took up golf. We got to know the community at the club and eventually they asked us if we wanted to take over the restaurant.”
Set on a hill with views of the green and the Cooks River, the club is a gem. But Moran says it needed an update. The kitchen was renovated, with a wall knocked down to open up the space, making way for the new kitchen residents. Customers order at the counter and pick up their food at a marble-topped bench before choosing a spot in the 100-seat room. A kids’ corner and dedicated menu cater to the swathes of young families in the area.
The golf club has plans to expand the space with a kids’ putting green outside and al fresco dining. “It’s a work in progress and we’re excited about the potential of what it could be.”
Wharf St Kitchen
Marrickville Golf Club, Wharf Street, Marrickville
Fri to Sun midday–8.30pm