Food and Drink
Posted by Nola James
14. Dec, 2011
A smart new eatery has opened in Brunswick, with dessert superstar turned savory queen Phillipa Sibley at the helm.
Owned and run by award-winning hospitality lifers Stuart Brookshaw (Bluebird London, Salt Sydney) and Ruth Giffney (L’odeon London and Longrain) Albert St Food & Wine sits smack in the middle of Sydney road’s thoroughfare (on the corner of Sydney and Albert Streets of course).
Taking over what was once an old bank, Brookshaw and Giffney searched for near on three years to find the perfect venue – the interior decked out with warm tones and polished recycled timber (the bar tables are made from an old basketball court), taking full advantage of the cavernous space.
After a soft launch this weekend Albert St F&W is to trade seven days a week (starting tomorrow). Doors open at 8am – simple breakfasts of piadini and pastries to begin, and a full breakfast menu to follow in January when the kitchen has settled in.
For now it’s all day dining off the very modern menu. If you’re snacking at the bar the pizzas will please (perhaps the Albert St special – roasted peppers, pork and fennel sausage with smoked mozzarella). Or if you like it salty try the potted rainbow trout rillettes or the deliciously moist fresh broad bean felafel served with tangy tahini yoghurt.
Catering to those after something more substantial there’s a selection of pastas (try saffron gnocchi with braised veal, broad beans and sage) and modern Mediterranean themed mains with subtle European influences, from coteletta of pork with red cabbage and apple slaw, to a summer cassoulet. There’s charcuterie and cheese aplenty, and of course there’s the calling card of Sibley’s signature deserts (the ‘Snickers’ of Masterchef fame was the special on the day of my visit).
A side-room retail space acts as both bottle shop and providore (with a peep hole window into the kitchen to boot). With a focus on hyper-local labels (stocking Brunswick produce first and foremost, then moving outwards) there’s more stock to come, but the tidy help-yourself space boasts the finest breads, pickles, cheeses, smoked fish, charcuterie and crackers your local dollars can buy. There’s a sustainable focus – refillable oil bottles on a return trade system are available now, soon there will terrines, pizzas, condiments and potted hams available on the ‘zero-packaging’ system of reusable glass containers.
The Sibley factor is high – there’s a copy of her new cookbook on display everywhere you look – but hell, if she was the Executive Chef at my restaurant I’d probably take out a full page ad in the Epicure. Albert St F&W isn’t going to need to ride one her reputation to find success though – the sheer style and quality of the food, service and decor will speak for itself. A delicious journey to be sure.
Albert St Food & Wine
Corner of Albert St & Sydney Rd, Brunswick
Monday to Thursday 8am to 12pm, Friday to Saturday 8am to 1am, Sunday 8am to 11pm.
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