Every afternoon, chefs at Song Kitchen roll and cut fresh pasta on the marble bar in the main dining area. The long, flat tagliolini noodles are tossed with generous chunks of spanner crab, tendrils of shredded zucchini and chilli in one of chef Charlotte Gonzales’s pasta dishes.
“Charlotte’s cooking style is thoughtful and precise,” says general manager Jon Ackary. “You can see the love in the food.”
Gonzales is French, raised in Gabon in central Africa, and her menu has a strong Gallic influence. There’s rabbit terrine with pistachio and pork, and duck croquets with béchamel sauce and salty caper berries. Freshly shucked rock oysters are finished with a bright, tangy mignonette sauce.
Although Song Kitchen is a good place to eat, there’s a nobler reason to visit. Owned by the YWCA (Young Women's Christian Association), the venue gives 100 per cent of its profits to programs supporting women and children escaping domestic violence.
“The organisation provides important services like early intervention, where they teach young kids about respectful relationships. It also gives counselling and crisis support for women and children who have survived domestic violence,” says Ackary.
The venue has come a long way from its past life as an unremarkable breakfast haunt for guests of the Y Hotel upstairs (now the Song Hotel). The once pokey space spans two levels and has three separate areas: main dining, cocktail bar and breakfast nook.
“When we renovated, I could hardly believe how high the ceilings were,” says Ackary.
The main dining room is fitted with round wood tables and a long charcoal banquet. Geometric light fixtures cast glittering shapes on the high ceiling. Upstairs, the cocktail bar is a good spot to have one of Song Kitchen’s jalapeno-infused Margaritas and watch passers-by. A side room with a long communal table and cosy booth feels more like a shared workspace than a public venue.
Sophie Otton (ex-wine director at Rockpool) consulted on the wine list. Fifty per cent of Song Kitchen’s wines come from female winemakers.
“It dovetails beautifully with Song Kitchen as a profit-for-purpose venue,” says Otton. “It shows support for the mission of the YWCA.”
“I’ve put an emphasis on local wines because the current scene is so vibrant with a lot of newcomers shaking things up.”
Try the Mount Horrocks organic riesling from the Clare Valley (SA) or Clonakilla chardonnay from Tumbarumba (NSW).
5-11 Wentworth Avenue, Sydney
(02) 9285 6244
Tues to Fri 7am–11.30am, 12pm–3pm, 5pm–10pm
Sat 7am–11.30am, 5pm–10pm