The south end of King Street seems to be slowly but surely upping its game as the ‘Paris end’ of Newtown. Joining the frontline on the cuisine side is Spencer Guthrie, a collaboration between chefs Troy Spencer and Oliver Guthrie, ex-L’etoile and Lucio’s respectively.
This place is positively diminutive, with only 30 seats available, but it’s a space better defined by its eco-credentials. Nearly every surface and piece of furniture is seeing a second life in this intimate, modern and provincial space. The goings on in the kitchens echo this notion, sourcing local, seasonal and sustainable produce; impressively, all the vegetables are organically grown in a plot just outside Sydney. By melding an eco-friendly ethos with high dining sensibilities, Spencer Guthrie certainly challenges perceptions of ethically sourced ingredients. While many might see eco-consciousness and elaborate preparation as mutually exclusive, here they're made poetic partners.
With five starters, five mains (plus a special of the day) and five desserts, the options are enticing. While the menu is simple, the dishes themselves play a serious game with textures and flavours. Think chocolate and coffee paired with roasted heirloom carrots and fennel, or pork belly with caramelised peaches. Dessert doesn’t dare rest on its laurels either, with a circle of orange-scented ricotta cake making the perfect foil to an intriguing olive oil and thyme ice cream.
The nature of locavorism is that dishes will shift according to availability – when we dropped by, a pillowy meringue swathed in chocolate and coffee flavours had already replaced another dessert on the website’s menu – but this is part of the vitality that befits and benefits the dining experience here.
It’s clear that the sustainable philosophy has inspired, rather than limited, the crafting of every dish. In fact, the prettiness of each plate is reason enough to sit at the bar, where the kitchen seems to work with efficiency and minimal fuss.
399 King Street, Newtown
(02) 8068 1080
Lunch: Sunday noon–2.30pm
Dinner: Tues to Sun 6pm–9.30pm