Hidden under the ember red of Kings Cross’ infamous Coca-Cola sign, The Hyde Restaurant has arrived in Potts Point.
Since the introduction of the controversial lockout laws the Cross has become synonymous with venues closing; yet The Hyde Restaurant has bucked the trend. Opening in February 2017, this all-day eatery is reimagining what it means to spend a night on the town.
A fusion of European flavours birthed from the finest New South Wales produce, The Hyde has assembled a team determined to introduce a relaxed eating experience in the inner city. Head chef Christian Colognesi, from Bambini Trust in the city, has devised three menus, each of which celebrate his Northern Italian heritage.
Enjoying the unconventionally balmy winter weekend, a large crowd has flocked to the city. Unknowingly, The Hyde is the perfect escape from the buzzing CBD on the Saturday evening. Nestled on the corner of a side street, it’s easy to see why patrons might not be aware of The Hyde and it’s expansive dining room fit for a crowd larger than what we walk into. Nonetheless, we are warmly greeted by the service staff eager to share their produce.
We take our seats in a comfortable booth, suitable for groups of up to four people. Low-lit lighting and the mellow tunes enveloping us, we are reminded that The Hyde wants us to relax.
The beverage menu is extensive, offering varieties of spirits and wines. However, The Hyde only offer a small list of wine by the glass, most of which are sourced from Australia. We opt for a bottle Jim Barry Watervale Riesling. At $55, the bottle is one of the average costing drops, and serves as the perfect accompaniment to The Hyde’s fusion feast.
Reassuring the pickiest of eaters, the entree menu is a whirlwind trip from the farm to the ocean. We begin with the courgette flower ($16). An intertwined mix of four zucchini flowers, the dish is a substantial entree for two people. The light batter encases a symphony of cheese delight. As the gloriously creamy meld of fromage blanc and smoked mozzarella escapes the zucchini flower, we quickly make use of the understated tomato coulis bathing at the bottom of dish.
A taste of French glory still lingering in our mouths, the pork belly ($20) arrives next. It is a shame to pull apart this plating triumph. Slow roasted, and evidently well loved, the Berkshire belly is a tender behemoth. The perfect combination of rich pork flavour and loose stringy meat. Served on a velvety sheet of artichoke puree, the vegetable is an intriguing recurring element on the dish. Appearing in three different capacities, the appreciation of the artichoke lifts the dish to levels beyond regularity.
Done with entrees, we start our duo of mains. The crab linguini ($26) is Colognesi’s favourite and it is easy to see why. Simplicity done to al dente precision. Even as thin shards of asparagus coil their way through the linguini, the richness of the blue swimmer crab meat is evident with every bite. There is no need for parmesan, with lemon zest providing enough balance to the distinctive shellfish.
Cleansing our palate with another bottle of white from South Australia, this time we choose the Hill-Smith Chardonnay ($33). The most inexpensive bottle on the list, the dryer wine from the Eden Valley is the mature partner for The Hyde’s well-crafted treatment of local produce.
Bathing in an aromatic saffron broth, the fish bouillon ($28) is our final main. A refined fisherman’s basket, the dish unites the deep blue in a bowl. Stunningly tender calamari lie subduedly next to visually imposing clams and mussels, that carry the same subtle saffron flavour. A majestic white fish fillet sits at the apex of the seafood tower. Although it is slightly firm, the fillet works well with the rest of the elements including toasted specks of Italian cous cous.
We decide to trial two desserts. The flawlessly cooked panna cotta ($12) calls upon European influence once again. Adding a layer of complexity, the dish weds vanilla with Hojiblanca olive oil, a tropical flavour native to Spain. Good enough to be sold in bottles, the surrounding strawberry broth is an addictive addition and is triumphant with spoons of panna cotta.
Our final foray at The Hyde, the chocolate and berry frozen mousse ($15), is a visual fairy tale worthy of adult attention. Three eggs of white chocolate mousse sit in an intentional messy bed of Belgian dark chocolate soil, salted caramel and mixed berry gel. Cracking through the hardened exterior, the white mousse is a buttery liquid that is elevated by the earthy texture of the chocolate soil. Reminiscent of one of mum’s cakes deconstructed, every element has a purpose in the understated sweet sensation.
By choice, we departed The Hyde almost three hours after arriving. There is no pressure to rush at this restaurant, whose appreciation of fine produce is evident in every dish. As is the ethos of the eatery, we were given time to indulge in the simple, yet beyond sophisticated creations.
Offering entrees, mains and dessert, The Hyde’s lunch menu looks to offer a similar seven-day experience. Serving incarnations of eggs, granola and avocado, the breakfast menu doesn’t appear revolutionary, but if our time at The Hyde is anything to go by there are sure to be more than a few surprises.
Uniting a love of produce with the adored tones and tastes of Europe, The Hyde Restaurant has perfected the art of service and sustenance. Another reason to head back to the Cross.
The Hyde Restaurant
2/14 Kings Cross Rd, Potts Point
Open Mon–Sun 6.30am-11pm