A European holiday in the heart of Surry Hills
Bohemian European restaurant Beast&Co is run by Czech owners Petra and Jakub. The couple have worked in hospitality for more than a decade since moving to Australia, including managing 300-600 seat restaurants for Rockpool Dining Group. Like many, they were furlough due to Covid however the optimistic pair decided to follow their dreams and go into business for themselves.
Through Beast&Co they want diners to be reminded of their childhood but instead of offering traditional Czech food, dishes are inspired from grandma’s recipes created with a modern twist.
The restaurant is simply designed with an interior of warm wooden tones and green walls, chosen to give the sense of walking through a forest. Jakub wanted the space to feel like a European getaway and reflected this in the colours and raw materials.
The Czech Republic is known for its good beer and Beast&Co offers a selection of authentic options however our dining experience kicked off with their signature cocktails. Reviewing the list of 13 cocktails took some time but eventually, I opted for the Prince of the Highlands ($20), a delicious combination of Aberfeldy 12y Single Malt Scotch Whiskey, Dom Benedictine, organic ginger syrup, lemon, smoked rosemary and black walnut bitters. While my date went with For the Butter Good ($19) a balanced mix of butter popcorn washed Woodford Reserve, Martini Rosso, coke syrup and whiskey barrel-aged bitters.
The menu changes regularly and focuses on fresh, seasonal produce coming from earth, lands, rivers and the sea. The locally supplied goods are carefully selected with a big focus on “nose to tail” sustainable cooking. This style of cooking uses as much of the produce as possible, breaking down the whole chicken, duck, fish, ensuring nothing goes to waste. And they apply the same philosophy to veggies, meaning the menu includes a lot of homemade purees, pickled and fermented veggies, made from leftover leaves from cauliflowers, beetroots and cabbages. Actually, despite the restaurant name, there are a number of dishes suitable for vegetarians, vegans or those with gluten intolerances.
Meals are primarily designed to share and the abundant menu offers a number of appealing dishes. To help simplify selection, a dot is placed next to the ‘must try’ dishes.
From the entrees we went for the Roasted Cabbage ($18), a delightful surprise of stone fruits, fennel, lemon and cabbage, sprinkled with sunflower seeds, along with the increasingly popular Beef Tartare ($26), which we loved especially with the addition of pickles and fried garlic crostini.
Whilst the menu offers a good selection of small plates, entrees, sides and mains plates our eyes went for straight for three main dishes. The tantalising crispy Duck Breast ($34) sitting on a bed of braised red cabbage, blackberries, red grapes and duck jus was succulent and juicy. Refined comfort food, grandma’s House Made Potato “Noky” ($29) a satisfyingly sweet but salty dish of smoked speck, goat cheese and charred savoy cabbage. Owner Petra says this Slovakian dish brings back happy memories. And continuing our hearty feast, the slow cooked crackling Pork Belly ($32) with Jerusalem artichoke puree, roasted kohlrabi and beer broth.
To accompany, we selected a bottle of red wine 2020 Coriole Sangiovese, McLaren Vale SA ($80). It was a perfect choice; savoury with a hint of cherry, medium-bodied and light tannins so as not to overpower our food.
Everything is cooked in-house and that includes the Czech Doughnuts ($16). Served with plum chutney, mixed berries, vanilla ice cream and dry raspberries.
Ending the night, we veered off the menu with traditional European spirit – Becherovka, a Czech herbal digestive. Bitter-sweet timeless taste based on a secret recipe that has remained unchanged since 1807. The liqueur is a mix of approximately 20 herbs, spices, orange oil and pure water from the Bohemian region. Highly recommend asking for this.
Dinner was a wonderful experience. Excellent service, friendly fun atmosphere and delicious food. Dishes are reasonably priced especially when you consider the attention to detail, generous portion size and the time invested in certain dishes. The beef tongue for instance is cooked sous vide for 24 hours.
Located in Surry Hills on Bourke Street, Beast&Co is a place that brings back memories of your European holiday or makes you want to go on one.
Find Beast&Co at 425 Bourke Street, Surry Hills
Open Wed-Frid 5pm till late, Sat 11am till late and Sun 11am till 10pm.
Happy hour runs from 5-7pm Wednesday to Sunday, offering $6 house wines, $8 large tap beers and $10 classic cocktails.
Looking for something a little more special?
Beast&Co offers a bottomless brunch (11am till 5pm), Cocktail Thursday – 5 mini cocktails paired with delicious food and a unique “dining in the dark” experience 6-8pm every Wednesday.