Saturday, July 28, 2012

Spencer Guthrie, Newtown

There wasn't a lot happening down the south end of King Street when I lived in Newtown back in the early noughties asides from some cafes (some good ones like Lou Jacks which is still there), furniture stores, random clothes shops and a few Chinese or Thai takeaways but that's about it. At night it was kind of dead. Really dark and quiet.  It freaked the bejuses out of me and I would race home as fast as I could as I didn't want the boogie man to get me (yes, I probably have an over-active imagination...but it makes for a good story).

Fast forward 12 years and this is the end of King Street I prefer to spend my time in.  The shops are more interesting and more left-of-mainstream than King Street proper..and the cafes as good as ever. The night life is picking up too, first with the arrival of Bloodwood and now with newcomer Spencer and Guthrie.

Miss Chicken and I make the most of my housesitting sojourn to the inner-west and decide to eat out on a Tuesday night. We arrive at 6pm and within 40 minutes the restaurant is almost full - people without bookings being turned away at the door! It's a popular place (though I'm sure the uncomfy Brentwood chairs ensure a high turnover high of food-bloggers with bad backs).

Even though it's a school night we decide to kick things off with a glass of wine each - a Mandala Sauvignon Blanc ($10.00 per glass) for me and a glass of the Magpie ‘The Shnell’ Shiraz Grenache ($11.00 per glass) for Miss Chicken.  I'm not a big drinker and I'm tipsy after half a glass....squeee, a GREAT night...squeee. The wine was nice though.

Dinner kicks off with a complimentary serve of freshly-made bread which we polish off toot sweet.  It's good to have something in our bellies as we peruse the menu. The menu at Spencer Guthrie is fairly simple - just five starters, five mains and five desserts. Their philosophy is to source local, seasonal and ethically raised produce (meat included) and the menu changes on a regular basis depending on what's in season and what's available. It really is heartening to see more and more restaurants sourcing their meat from ethical producers.

Even though the menu is small I find myself wanting to order everything on it. I finally settle on the chicken + duck liver parfait with carbonated grapes + warm ginger bread ($20.00) as my entree. My parfait is lovely, smooth and very rich in flavour - I wish that I had more bread though as the small serving wasn't enough to match the generous serving of parfait and I was probably eating more parfait than ideal (translate: heaping it on) on each morsel of bread.  Miss Chicken ordered the brandade cannelloni, crispy oxtail, roast pepper puree and potato crisp ($19.00)...a really flavoursome dish, the oxtail was divine.

I wanted to order the pork but I seem to have some psychological barrier to eating cheek which I very soon got over when I tasted Miss Chicken's glazed pork cheek with roasted fennel, apple fondant + mustard ($31.00). The cheek meat was so tender and the crispy bits of!  Bah, next time pork cheek you will be mine...all mine!

Luckily my lamb rump, with smoked garlic confit, pickled radish and turnip ($30.00) was also wonderful - so my food envy quickly dissipated. The lamb was so tender and so well cooked. Loved it. We chose the Leaf and herb salad ($8.00) to add a bit of greens (and reds) to our main event.

We decided to share a dessert as we're both trying to be good.  The chewy meringue with caramelized pear with blood orange ice-cream ($15.00) may look like two boobs (or is it just me that sees that?) on a plate but it was a GREAT dessert. The meringue was soft and chewy, the pear soft, sweet with a hint of ginger...the whole lot drizzled with honey to give it a real sweet kick.

Spencer Guthrie is at 399 King Street, Newtown.  Phone them on 8068 1080.

Spencer Guthrie on Urbanspoon


  1. Yum Miss Piggy! Lovely presentation on all these dishes...the dessert looks delicious and yes, like boobs :)

  2. Spencer Guthrie is an awesome name. Can't beat Newtown as a location either!

  3. Small menu or not, I reckon you guys made great food choices. I'm ashamed to say I haven't tried that place yet, and it's withing walking distance from home.

  4. Ok, you've convinced me that I need to try this place... Crispy oxtail? Glazed pork cheeks? Chewy meringue and blood orange ice cream?!!??!!!

  5. So many fantastic sounding new places in Newtown that I need to get to!

  6. that chewie meringue is getting me hot under the collar


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