You may not be able to choose your family, but if you could, wouldn't you pick the Cosby family? The dudes behind this mod-Korean/European/Australian eatery would, and have named the joint in honour of the Huxtable clan.
With a menu built for sharing and windows made for staring, Huxtable’s cleverly utilised space speaks of friendly catch-ups over a glass of wine while you watch the veritable circus that is Smith Street go by. The owners are industry circuit savvy and their ‘picking the bits that work’ philosophy really has worked. There’s an almighty mish-mash of cuisine and design influences, but far from resulting in a confused mess, it’s like an awesome ‘bitza’ pup that’s inherited the best traits from the town’s top dogs.
They take bookings for 50 per cent of spaces, but keep a walk-in section. They have intimate nooks, two tops, kitchen bar spots for solo mavericks, and beautifully crafted wooden street benches for sunny brunching. The wine list is informed, and the menu covers more territory than an 18th century Colonialist. This fodder has been set out in bites which range from $3.50–$6.50 (meant for one, so order multiples for a group), and then share plates of the sea, land and earth variety at the $12–$27 mark.
Everything is delicate, so get a decent number, and remember: take friends who value quality over quantity. So, which bits do we think work? Soft lamb puttanesca, with a coating of crisp filo threads and a biting lemon yoghurt. Creamy mozzarella balls rolled in salty anchovy and olive with a tomato sugo, and cheese croquettes that could be dull, but are saved by a jalapeno kick and a texture-tastic shell. From the larger plates, the duck breast and sour plum purée on soy braised daikon epitomises the style of the menu– it’s not outrageously frontier, but it is exceptionally executed. And oh, the Korean barbecue ribs. Sticky ribs, spicy coleslaw, chilli pickle. If ever there was a snack worth taking a bullet for, this is it.
Huxtable is a dates, or snacks-with-mates kinda joint that doesn't take itself too seriously, while still doing some very serious food.