For years Simon Beckingham and Anthony Kaplan (owners of The Corner House and Panama House) wondered how best to present a modern-day hunter-gatherer concept in urban Sydney. Their new rooftop restaurant in north Sydney is their answer. They’re not being literal, though; no one really wants to eat lilly pillies, discarded Marrickville olives and the occasional possum. They’re scouring the wider Sydney area for all its best cuts, roots and fruits.
“We want to showcase the produce close to the city,” says Kaplan. The Hunter Gatherer team is working with an organic Hawkesbury food co-op for its produce, and Vic’s Meat for the hunter half of the menu. In what’s becoming a welcome trend in Sydney, the meat doesn’t dominate – the gathered half of the menu is completely vegetarian.
Bringing it all together in the kitchen is Paul Micklewright (former head chef at the Boathouse Group), who’s worked with the three owners on a visual, cross-cultural style of food inspired by Yotam Ottolenghi and Mike McEnearney. The launch menu includes juicy lemon-and-thyme-braised chicken; a charcuterie board with a smoky house terrine; and bright salads with bold flavours. The spiced eggplant with haloumi, tomato and yoghurt, and fried kipflers with Pepe Saya crème fraiche and chive sauce are both standouts. “We do all our brining, smoking, slow braising, it's all very rustic,” says Micklewright. The salads are displayed on the restaurant’s long kitchen counter.
People should first scout out the produce they want to eat on the counter, and then share it in a large group. Most of the furniture inside is intended to inspire exactly that, long or round wooden tables topped with technicolour scenes of hunting and gathering that change depending on the light; with lots of greenery and hanging naked light bulbs. “Everything we've done [before] has been kind of vintage. So we wanted it to be fresh and a bit more modern,” says Beckingham about the restaurant’s bright, open design.
Greenwood Plaza Rooftop, 36 Blue Street, North Sydney
(02) 9964 9766
Mon & Tue 8.30am–4pm
Wed to Fri 8.30am–12pm