There’s a new place to be in Paddington. The breakfast-to-dinner restaurant and cafe opened just over a fortnight ago, and it has been pumping out rhubarb toasties and feta-stuffed zucchini flowers ever since.
“It’s somewhere for people to go if they don’t feel like Italian or Thai,” says general manager, Kathi Obermeier. “That’s exactly what people are telling us.”
Head chef Ralph Campbell (formerly of Lakes Entrance in Victoria) developed an eclectic menu that includes shallow-fried rhubarb and strawberry “toasties” – an edible, flower-laden number reminiscent of French toast; rosemary grilled king prawns; enoki, Swiss brown and oyster mushroom risotto; and the Sonder sundae, with salted pretzels and chocolate fairy floss. There’s an Australian-focused wine list, and coffee is supplied by Double Roasters.
“Sonder” (a word invented by John Koenig) means, “the realisation that every passer-by is living a life as vivid and complex as your own, populated with their own ambitions, friends, routines, worries and inherited craziness.”
“In hospitality, you often get snippets of people’s stories. I think that’s what drives my passion for hospitality,” Obermeier says. “You get to know people, sometimes really well, and then never see them again.”
The space has been reimagined to create a young, art-filled destination that’s as comfortable as a mate’s place and just as interesting. Originally a terrace house, it’s full of hidden seating, with two outside areas and a selection of interior spots. Clean white is juxtaposed with extensive floor-to-ceiling graffiti-esque collage art murals (care of Shannon Crees) throughout. The music is, fittingly, mellow.