British chef and restaurateur Jason Atherton is to open his first venue in Australia, with drinks developed by leading bartender Matt Fairhurst.
Jason’s The Social Company is to open Kensington Street Social at The Old Clare Hotel in Chippendale in Sydney on January 13, in partnership with Loh Lik Peng, director of global boutique hotel and restaurant group Unlisted Collection.
With 120 covers, the restaurant will open for breakfast, lunch and dinner seven days a week, including Sunday brunch, with an all-day menu focused on British-Mediterranean sharing plates.
The Social Company, headed locally by British general manager Michael Gavaghan, formerly of Gordon Ramsay at Claridges in London and well-known Sydney venue The Gazebo, is looking after all food and beverage at The Old Clare Hotel including The Clare bar and Rooftop Pool and Bar (pictured bottom).
Award-winning bartender Matt Fairhurst is beverage director after most recently taking the helm at Jason’s Michelin-starred London restaurant City Social. He was previously at Callooh Callay in London and The Milk Thistle in Bristol.
He has created different cocktail lists for each venue in a similar playful, pun-filled vein to Jason’s award-winning London bars. Kensington Street Social’s Fruit Looped Cereal Killer combines vodka, “Fruit Loop milk”, apricot and Aperol, served in a milk carton, while The Clare bar’s Kahuna Colada is made with pineapple rum and Batch Brewing’s coconut brown ale.
The sweet savoury notes of beetroot and parsnip wine are combined with Talisker 10-year-old whisky for The Roots Manuka (pictured top), complemented by lemon and egg white, while the Rye Society (pictured below), inspired by a Breakfast Martini, is made with butter-washed rye whiskey, marmalade, Earl Grey tea, lemon and egg white – plus “Chanel No rye”, a bergamot perfume that the guest sprays over the drink to bring out all the flavours in the cocktail.
The opening is the latest expansion for The Social Company beyond London after openings in New York City, Hong Kong, Shanghai and Dubai. In London, it operates Social Eating House and its bar The Blind Pig, Little Social, Pollen Street Social, Berners Tavern at London Edition hotel, City Social and Social Wine & Tapas.
Jason is working with Australian executive chef Rob Daniels to use Australian producers so that Kensington Street Social reflects the country alongside a wine list that shows the best of local wine regions and some international favourites. The pair have worked together on a number of restaurants in the past 12 years, first at Maze London and later at Maze One & Only Cape Town.
The menu is broken up into snacks, vegetables, raw and cured, sourdough flatbreads, fish and shellfish, meat, cheese and desserts.
Highlights from the all-day menu include English Breakfast tea and toast – a play on tea and toast with wild mushroom tea served in a teapot with relish and bone marrow toast. Other dishes will include marinated salmon with tatsoi salad, chilli and wasabi ponzu, and a sea urchin risotto with Moreton Bay bug tail, lemon and bottarga.
Cheese will have a starring role on the menu with a number of cheese dishes including Aussie favourite Holy Goat La Luna goats cheese served with pickled fennel, bitter orange jam and cress.
The breakfast menu promises innovative and healthy options including organic seed and grain oatmeal porridge, pineapple, chilli and mint and lightly smoked flathead baked omelette, bacon and spring onion.
Designed by Shanghai-based Neri & Hu and executed by Matt Darwon, the sophisticated contemporary interior will draw on the industrial heritage of the restaurant’s location within the former Carlton United Brewery building. Kensington Street Social will be split across two levels, with concrete finishes echoing Chippendale’s vibrant urban landscape.
Jason said: “I’m so excited to be opening my first restaurant in Sydney. I’m all about sourcing the best produce, and here the ingredients are just incredible – Australian black truffles, the seafood – so I’m looking forward to using them to reinterpret a few of the signature dishes from my London restaurants.
“I’ve had many Australian chefs in my brigade over the years, including my executive chef Rob and pastry chef Adrian Crabb, so it seemed like a natural step to come to Sydney and get the team back together.”
Other upcoming projects for The Social Company include Sosharu, a Japanese restaurant due to open in London’s Clerkenwell in March, and a restaurant in Cebu in the Philippines.
The Old Clare Hotel is a 62-room boutique design hotel within Unlisted Collection, the unconventional boutique hotel and restaurant group created by Loh Lik Peng. It operates other hotels in Singapore, Shanghai and London, including London’s Town Hall Hotel which is home to bar Peg + Patriot and restaurants Typing Room and Corner Room.