It has arguably one of the best kitchen fit outs in Sydney. No expense has been spared at Kings Cross restaurant, Concrete Blonde. Having opened late 2011 on Bayswater Road this one time gym now boasts stylish abodes tucked away from the Saturday night mischief dwelling on street level. Walk past Hugo’s Pizza and you’ll find it to the left of the infamous stairway leading towards Hugo’s Bar. Being so close to home I recently took my chef friend and Hugo’s Executive Chef Massimo Mele to check out their menu.
Both Mass and I had dined there previously when Patrick Dang was head chef. I had hosted a Secret Foodies event there and whilst I liked the food it was disappointing to see the open rotisseries weren’t being utilised. Dang has since moved on and Ian Oakes former Head Chef of The Grand National in Paddington has moved in. Having been awarded 1 Chef’s Hat at ‘The Nash’ and being a loyal patron myself I was keen to see Oakes new direction.
We start with a few cocktails at the bar and the way the restaurant is laid out makes it easy to just come here for a couple of drinks. Oakes uses seasonal ingredients supporting local farmers and suppliers. This is evident in his dishes.
We start with seafood for entrees, Lightly cured NZ King Salmon served with Radish, parsley, fennel salad, rice wine vinaigrette then Sashimi of Hiramasa kingfish avacado, watercress, enoki mushrooms, walnut dressing and Seared scallops with sauce soubise, crisp pancetta, capers, currants, pine nuts. Simple flavours and fresh ingredients is the idea here. My favourite dish is the scallops.
Try the Chicken Liver Parfait chamomile and honey jelly, apricot chutney with toasted brioche. It’s a great dish to share with someone over a bottle of wine if you’re just looking for a nibble.
For mains we try the Blackmore Wagyu Skirt Steak caramalised onion, rocket, anchovy mayonnaise and the Slow roasted Mirrool Creek Lamb Shoulder. I prefer the steak, so does Mass but both are worth a try for meat lovers.
Totally full and struggling to fit another bite Oakes spoils us with his white chocolate and honeycomb parfait with salted caramel. The sweet and salt combo is winning, how could we resist?
Ambience wise it’s a bit slow when we first arrive and in such a big space we feel a bit lonesome. The soft, dim lighting and open plan kitchen gives off a warm vibe in contrast to the exposed concrete pillars. A large group arrives mid meal as do a few other couples and the mood lifts.
On the wine front, General Manager and Sommelier Emmanual Bernardos is your man. If in doubt head his wine wisdom. He will point you in the right direction with tipples to match your meal. Having worked in exclusive hotels, restaurants and cocktail bars across the world he’s got a few stories to keep you entertained if your company falls short. Thankfully my + 1 has great chat and it’s a top evening. I’ll be back.
33 Bayswater Road, Kings Cross