“Sydney is ready for the next level of Mediterranean food.” That’s what Michael Rantissi, chef and owner at Kepos & Co. (and Kepos Street Kitchen) thinks. What he means is he’s on to his next adventure; cooking vibrant food with fresh, homemade ingredients inspired by his Tel Aviv upbringing. “I want to show Sydney that Mediterranean food has much more to it.”
For Rantissi, the ultimate meal will always include a big plate of hummus and falafel, but there are other dishes that deserve your attention on the Kepos & Co. menu.
Mulukhiyah – a stew of dehydrated spinach leaves served with wagyu beef brisket and lemon – is a standout. Rantissi grew up eating this dish, but he hasn’t seen it reproduced in Sydney. “I’m interested to share it with people and see how they perceive it,” he says.
The lunch and dinner menu will remain dotted with a variety of creative salads including a tomato salad with pickled eschallot and fresh herbs, and a roasted-eggplant salad served with almonds, burratta and chervil.
Rantissi has upped the restaurant feel in the new space. Rustic brickwork nestles into curves of white Moorish walls creating a classic but contemporary setting. A wood-fire oven takes centre stage, cooking juicy lamb and bread, like that served at the all-day weekend brunch.
Brunch in Tel Aviv is constructed quite differently to the late-morning meals come Sunday in Sydney. Warm, freshly baked bread accompanies small dishes of babagaunosh, hummus, goat labne and pickled veggies, among salads and meats.
“The food flows continuously; there are a lot of small elements spread all over the table,” Rantissi explains, “it’s family-style eating the way people do in the Middle East.” And you can order it all day on the weekends.
There’s also a menu dedicated entirely to teas, hot or iced. Iced teas come from natural fruits such as Egyptian hibiscus with lemon and basil, and lavender and persimmon with honey.
“Tea is the next big thing,” says Rantissi matter-of-factly, “and we want to bring out fresh iced tea as something new and exciting, beyond the sugary standard we’re used to.”
Kepos & Co.
Shop 5, Casba, 18 Danks Street, Waterloo
(02) 9690 0931
Tue to Fri 11.30am–10.30pm