Who better to take over one of the most visible corners in the inner city area than hospitality veteran Ben Sweeten? For his tenth venue, the owner of Kansas City Shuffle and Tuxedo has set up shop on Oxford Street, overlooking Taylor Square. “I think this is the best corner in Sydney, it’s at the heart of a vibrant community. I want people to sit outside and people-watch – maybe run into their friends. You have the courts, the hospital, the art school – there are so many diverse people running around here,” he says.
Sweeten has opened up what was once a dark space with two full walls of windows and warm, bright colours. The venue was named for the real Sir Allen Taylor, a mayor of Sydney in the early 20th century who is famous for beautifying the Darlinghurst area.
Inspired by Taylor’s own timber business, recycled Australian hardwood features prominently alongside warm greens and creamy white subway tiles. And like the venue’s previous occupant, sidewalk seating will be out year round.
All of the kitchen’s produce is sourced locally from small producers and almost all of the venue’s elements are proudly made in-house (except for their breads, which are supplied by Crows Nest’s St. Malo Bakery).
During the day, the venue serves a diverse brunch menu that was designed by Sweeten’s fiancé and the venue’s co-owner Shirin Topaloglu. Kansas City Shuffle’s much-loved hickory-smoked beef brisket and waffles make the cut, alongside other burgers and leek-and-potato croquettes that arrive with a chorizo ragu. Topaloglu has created two crepe options: one savoury that wraps around spiced puy lentils, lime labne and candied chili cashews; and a sweet Tahitian vanilla crepe with lemon crème fraiche, blueberry compote and mandarin sugar.
At night finger foods come out, many dishes are borrowed from Tuxedo’s menu. “It’s a one-hand menu, to make sure people feel welcome to sit back and relax with a drink,” he explains. Bio-dynamic pumpkin arancini and polenta bites are on offer alongside more substantial offerings like sliders, a cheese plate, and salt-and-pepper squid.
Then, there’s the cocktail menu that starts at 10am. Naturally, there are Espresso Martinis – Sweeten has chosen five from Tuxedo’s menu. The rest of the menu showcases Australian flavours. There is the All Ozi Groni, which features Australian gin, Red Oak for Campari and Australian vermouth. For the Bellini, peach fruit is blended in front of you for a bit of theatre.
Sir Allen Taylor & Co
191 Oxford Street, Darlinghurst