Those who were devastated when Kitchen by Mike closed in Roseberry will be relieved to find chef Mike McEnearney’s hearty salads at Sydney’s Kingsford Smith Airport.

“The airport space is a replica of the Roseberry Kitchen by Mike,” says McEnearney. “It’s the same menu, the same canteen model and the core values are still seasonality and honest, fresh food.”

Egalitarian dining is integral too. “In a canteen queue, a lot of demographics stand equally together, and people can eat at any price point,” he says.

It’s been tweaked for an airport setting though. “We’ve designed the Fly by Mike pack. When customers queue up, they’re asked if they’re eating in or on the plane.”

If it’s for the plane, staff fill a bento box with salads made from peach, fennel, olive and pine nuts or more substantial fare such as Kurobuta ham (from Berkshire pigs raised on NSW family farms) with mash and tart Cumberland sauce. The box is sealed to take on board.

“Airlines are notorious for not providing good food,” he says. “I travel a lot with my family and we always pack basic snacks just to keep us alive on the flight. We rarely eat plane food.

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“Fly by Mike gives people the option to eat fresh food at the airport or when they fly.”

McEnearney has partnered with Emirates Leisure Retail to open the two-level eatery in the airport’s international terminal. Ninety seats are spread across the main and mezzanine levels. The design is natural wood with a tall, whitewashed-brick wall and copper fixtures. McEnearney’s signature Physic Herb Garden is growing in a few planter boxes that border the canteen.

In the two years since McEnearney’s Roseberry canteen closed, he’s been creative director at Carriageworks Markets. The role has been a logical career move for someone so passionate about having a farm-to-plate philosophy.

“Being close to farmers is a beautiful thing. You understand their hardships and the quality and integrity behind the produce.”

He’ll stay in the role while also overseeing Kitchen by Mike and his new CBD restaurant, No. 1 Bent Street.

“I hope to enliven people’s senses so they realise the benefit of good, wholesome food,” he says.

Kitchen by Mike
Sydney Kingsford Smith Airport
T1 International, Pier B between Gates 10-24

Mon to Fri 6am – 10pm