When he converted a suburban corner store into Clove Lane, chef Emile Avramides (Little Jean’s, Gordon Ramsay’s Maze, Cutler & Co) removed the walls that had stood between himself and his customers in the past. “As a chef, we’re often out the back and can’t go on the floor. I wanted to break that down, get amongst it and lose any pretence. Just have good food, relax, eat, drink, be merry.”
Clove Lane is a modern bistro with a team of fine dining chefs behind the stoves. Avramides is joined by Michael Tran (now-closed Hibiscus in London and The Bellevue), Carlo Della Sala and sometimes by Cory Campbell (Noma, Vue de Monde). Tran, who says his time at Hibiscus was “long hours where we all there to learn as much as we could”, shares Avramides’ sentiment about wanting a different experience as a chef. He says the difference is clear when he crosses the restaurant’s courtyard to the coolroom or herb garden. “It’s quite a journey, coming from a dark, underground kitchen in London to sunlight and a garden and family.”
Simple interiors at Clove Lane are proof that chefs don’t need million-dollar fit-outs to create the food they want to serve. Bistro-style tables surround the open kitchen and well-stocked bar. A large table by the front door and seats along the kitchen bench add to the feeling you’ve stepped into the house of family members who happen to be world-class chefs.
The menu changes almost daily, based on the ingredients from suppliers like De Costi Seafood and (Chef’s Co-Op). Gnocchi with fermier cheese, honey-and-cumin glazed spatchcock, and Jerusalem artichokes with quince paste and chestnuts have proven too popular to take off the menu, although certain ingredients of each dish will change. Dishes are easy to share, and complementary plates like sirloin and ox cheeks are served together. Diners who choose the chef’s menu are served an unstructured procession of dishes according to the chef’s recommendations and their own preferences.
Mixologist Andrea Coccon (The Stillery) uses ingredients from the kitchen and garden to create bespoke cocktails such as the Quince Fizz cocktail made with vermouth, Champagne, lavender from the garden and a quince syrup which also appeared in a dessert of spice-crusted poached pears, quince and meringue. The wine list features mostly Australian and New Zealand wines, and is divided into categories like clean and crisp, bold and rich, and light and bright to complement the menu.
19 Clovelly Road, Randwick
(02) 9326 3573
Tue to Sat 5pm–10pm