Odd Culture is Newtown’s newest haunt, taking up residence in the old Happy Chef location.
The bustling bar and restaurant seems to be one of the busiest spots on King Street, and for good reason. The downstairs kitchen and bar are inviting and casual with a mix of low and high top tables. The room feels like a warehouse (minus the grunge) with exposed wood, large windows and a long kitchen and bar top giving the space a sense of grandeur. The upstairs dining setting is more refined and intimate, perfect for date nights. As you perch up for lunch or dinner, ensure to note what beers and produce you enjoyed as Odd Culture’s Fermented Goods and Liquor Store is just down the road for you to stock up on your way home.
The drinks list is long featuring local and international specialty craft beers, natural and classic wines, and some unusual cocktails showcasing their pride in fermentation. With ex-Baxter Inn’s Sam Paech and group Beverage Manager Jordan Blackman in charge of drinks, you can’t go wrong with whatever you pick! We tried the Strawberry Collins with fermented strawberry soda, gin, Aperol and lemon ($20). It was not too sweet, rather light and refreshing as a Tom Collins should be, without the acidity. We were tempted by the Tepache Spritz that has fermented pineapple soda, tequila, agave, lime ($20) and the Sour Negroni with cherry lambic vermut, gin, Campari and acid ($22). There are also 12 taps of rotating Lambic beers, ciders and seltzers to really make you choose with some interrogation.
Head upstairs for a more fine dining experience and perch up underneath the distressed mural of the classic Resch’s logo painted onto the wall. With leather seating, it feels luxe and worlds away from the bustle of King Street. You’ll be treated to some of Odd Culture’s overarching fermentation techniques with the food offering. There’s not one set cuisine, but with Jesse Warkentin and Caleb Venner (both ex-Continental Deli) working with the group’s Executive Chef James MacDonald (ex-Hubert), you’ll be eating from an all-star team.
The homemade Sourdough Beer Bread is soft and comes served with Odd Culture’s cultured butter ($5). We tried the Chicken Liver Parfait with fish sauce caramel and homemade crisps ($16). The parfait is runny and it’s more of a dip consistency which is very different from any other style we’ve tried. The fish sauce caramel is the perfect accompaniment; not too sweet, not too salty, a little bit sticky, but perfectly paired with the rich parfait. We were happy to have leftover bread to mop it all up, as it was delicious.
The Anchovy Cigars are addictive. A whole, meaty anchovy is wrapped in a light brick pastry with olive and taramasalata ($6). We had one each but could have easily eaten five with a crisp beer to wash down the salty morsels. We also tried the Kingfish Sashimi with almond milk and mandarin oil ($24) which was served generously.
For mains, we chose the Koji Roasted Chicken with togarashi and chicken fat congee ($40) and the Hanger Steak with burnt garlic and egg yolk sauce ($48). The chicken was a generous half-bird served on top of the congee and gravy, that together tasted like one of the best roast gravy you’ve ever had. As it was congee, it was rice-based and thick, which gave a different direction for a sauce. The Hanger Steak was cooked outstandingly and it was accompanied by Potato lorettes with garlic butter ($12).
The combination of cooking techniques and ingredients, wonderful service and a stellar drinks selection made the experience very enjoyable. The vibe is great for intimate date nights, groups and low-key dinners. Odd Culture has brought something a little different to Newtown but in a very welcoming way!
Find out more and book a table here