Kepos Street Kitchen: Obey the Rumble
Kepos Street Kitchen looks beautiful from the outside. Inside, it still looks beautiful… but arriving as we did just after six, with the full heat of the setting sun streaming in through the windows, we felt a bit like we’d stepped into a well-decorated greenhouse. Wedged in a sweet little corner table, we sweated until our flesh felt like it had become one with the booth. Relief came soon, however, in the form of a few cooling tumblers of water and some refreshing rosé. As we sipped, we felt the sun slowly relinquish its grip upon the place. Sighs of relief.
We started out with a starter of olives and almonds – but no ordinary olives and almonds. To be precise, we were given marinated bitter Syrian olives, accompanied by roasted almonds rolled in Israeli date honey, a splash of salt and a healthy amount of chilli. Not enough to make the nose run but enough to make you sit up straight in your seat. A nice balance of sticky, sweet and spicy, beautifully contrasted with the tartness of the lemon-doused olives.
For the mains, the success was by far and away my friend’s fish kofta - a sea bream, we later learnt - accompanied by a smoky eggplant salad (this was raved over), pomegranate balsamic and mint. Something about sprinkling pomegranate seeds over a dish just makes it look instantly more appealing, doesn’t it? I went through a Yotam Ottolenghi-obsessed phase in London and used to carry little packets of them around to baptise all my food with, from breakfast yoghurt to lunch salads to evening rice. It got a little out of hand. But I digress.
Dessert was absolutely heavenly. Easily the nicest dessert I have ordered in months. Labelled simply as “layered pistachio, yoghurt, strawberry rosewater mousse,” it was essentially a middle-eastern (and much tastier) spin on what I would call a traditional English trifle. We worked our way through layers of sponge, crunchy pistachios, juicy strawberries, a very light strawberry mousse, tart lemon-infused yoghurt and sprigs of mint. It was so refreshing, so light that once we’d finished it I could have ordered it all over again. So beautiful that we both photographed it and spent some part of the journey home lovingly selecting the best possible filter for it. Like true dessert nerds.
We capped the night off with a little pot of tea each, rather than another glass of wine – it was a school night after all – and enjoyed the Toffee Apple (surprisingly crisp) and, my personal favourite, the Turkish Delight. Delicate, perfumed and absolutely perfect after the addition of a splash of honey.
There’s a sweet little courtyard out the back that I investigated en route to the ladies that could possibly be a cooler option for an early seating come the full-blown heat of midsummer. Presentation was beautiful and service was friendly but not quite relaxed. We’d booked the 6pm seating which meant we’d need to leave by 8pm and we’d gotten stuck in traffic on the way there so time was ticking, and at times we felt it. Next time I’d book for the 8:15 seating to take the pressure off. Because there will definitely be a next time. Even if I just come back for the dessert.
By Lucy McNabb
Kepos Street Kitchen, 96 Kepos Street, Redfern
9319 3919 http://keposstreetkitchen.com.au/main/