Once a private investigator’s office, 92 Glebe Point Road is now home to interrogations of the culinary kind. “I love challenging people and doing something that’s interesting,” says John Lyons, former chef at The Savoy in London. “To me, eating out has always been about entertainment. In the old days, people would go to the theatre for that. My aim is to do something similar with dining.”
Lyons, who can list a number of UK Michelin-starred restaurants on his resume (including Rascasse in Leeds), worked closely with No.92 owner Angela Kasimis to hone the concept of a casual but refined European-style wine bar and restaurant.
Kasimis bought the 1874 Victorian terrace corner establishment five years ago, but it has lived many previous lives. It began as the Waratah Hotel before operating as a bank, tearoom, antique dealership, boot factory and of course the investigator’s office.
Sit inside the renovated elegant terrace and order oysters drizzled with rhubarb and pepperberry mignonette paired with a crisp soave from the extensive wine list or, on weekends, brunch in its cobbled outdoor courtyard. As summer rolls on, it’s a great spot to eat scrambled eggs or corn fritters, or less breakfast-y dishes such as smoked eel fish fingers (made, delightfully, on Wonder White bread). Artificer is the house coffee blend, and the wine list leans natural. It’s been curated by the people at Super Super (they’re about to launch an online wine store).
But for something more substantial, the six-course, $70 “degustation is not dead” menu represents extraordinary value in a city where a meal can cost more than a return flight to Melbourne.
It might include pan cote tomate, a refreshing combination of bread soaked in a light basil oil served with semi-dried tomatoes, buffalo mozzarella and capers. Crunchy mushroom truffle arancini with a velvety mushroom puree could follow; as well as a hearty beef rump with blueberries and cauliflower. It sounds like it’s very Italian, but Lyons doesn’t discriminate; there’s also the very Japanese-inspired dish of ramen noodles with ginger fried chicken served with chicken dashi essence. “Someone once described my food as ‘cutting-edge rustic.’ I don’t know what that means, but it sounds great,” he says.
The star of Lyon’s show though is the white chocolate and burnt sesame grenache with strawberry XO and basil essence. Presented as an almond-shaped “evil eye” with the strawberry XO as its pupil, the dish has a distinctive umami flavour that is as spectacular as it looks. “I’m all about flavour and doing something nonsensical, but in a great way,” says Lyons.
Kasimis recruited Sydney-based design practice Pattern Studio to breathe new life into the terrace, and the result is a quiet antique lace palette, curved timber banquettes and eclectic wall sconces. Upstairs, there are smaller, more intimate dining rooms with plush rugs, elegant marble tables and soft pendant lighting.
“The aim was make it soft and beautiful and for people to feel like being in a private home rather than in a restaurant,” says Kasimis.
92 Glebe Point Road, Glebe
(02) 9571 9292
Wed & Thu 4pm–late
This article first appeared on Broadsheet on January 23, 2020. Menu items may have changed since publication.