Simon Beckingham, Ollie Carpenter and Anthony Kaplan (owners of The Corner House and Panama House) wondered how best to present a modern-day hunter-gatherer ethos in urban Sydney. Their rooftop restaurant in north Sydney is their answer. They’re scouring the wider Sydney area for all its best cuts, roots and fruits.
The Hunter Gatherer team works with an organic Hawkesbury food co-op for its produce, and Vic’s Meat for the hunter half of the menu. 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 included 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. The team does its own brining, smoking and slow braising. The salads are displayed on the restaurant’s long kitchen counter.
Visitors 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.