Odd Culture

12:00pm - 12:00am
262-266 King Street Newtown 2042

Occupying the former Happy Chef space halfway up King Street, Odd Culture is a cavernous all-day diner and craft beer bar by The Odd Culture Group (Oxford Tavern, Old Fitzroy and Duke of Enmore), inspired by an overarching theme of fermentation.

The venue comprises a cavernous ground-floor bar with an open kitchen, plus a mezzanine upstairs with a full-service restaurant. Two doors up, the Odd Culture bottle shop stocks lo-fi booze and ferment-focused pantry items such as pickles, hot sauce and kimchi.

Interiors feature super-high vaulted ceilings, distressed walls, brass features and enormous French windows looking out onto King Street. Timber is everywhere: a bartop milled together from old railway sleepers, tabletops hewn from recycled French-oak barrels, and timber floors from an old French barn. Its past life as beloved Chinese eatery Happy Chef – which was destroyed by a fire in 2018 – is acknowledged, with the remains of the old logo still painted on the main wall.

The bar’s 12 taps feature a rotating range of wild-fermented lambic beers from around the world. But if the six-metre-high Reschs mural up on the mezzanine dining space is anything to go by, Odd Culture is not all about catering to acquired beer tastes. Reschs is the house lager, joining an approachable house pale ale brewed in collaboration with 4 Pines. There are also taps dedicated to cider and seltzer.

The cocktail list also carries the fermented theme. You might find a sour Negroni stirred with oude kriek (a sour-cherry lambic), a lacto-fermented Strawberry Daiquiri, and house-made tepache sodas (a Mexican libation made with fermented pineapple rind). They’re backed up by an array of spirits and sakes, plus a long list of global wines, farmhouse ciders and lambic ales.

The kitchen, helmed by head chef Jesse Warkentin and sous-chef Caleb Venner (both ex-Continental Deli) is overseen by group executive chef James MacDonald (Restaurant Hubert’s ex-head chef). The menu is primed for all day-dining and sees fermented ingredients star in approachable snacks, small plates and large dishes: pickled carrot paired with thin-sliced LP’s saucisson; salted chilli-flecked cucumber with preserved tofu; or a perfectly rare hanger steak with burnt garlic and egg-yolk sauce. For dessert, it might be a peanut-butter and jersey milk ice-cream sando.

Updated: December 1st, 2021

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