People are excited about George Calombaris and Shane Delia’s new undertaking, St Katherine’s. So excited, it can be difficult to book a seat. Nonetheless, when you finally do get a confirmation, it’s an upbeat, happy experience.
St Katherine’s is a big, open space with timber floorboards and high, exposed ceilings. Special touches are the round, low-hanging light bulbs, the concrete patterned wall filled with tea lights and the tinned tomato cans cleverly reused as cutlery holders.
Staff are chatty and enthusiastic, happily guiding you through the loosely middle eastern/Greek-ish menu all intended for sharing. George and Shane’s playful menu references childhood delights: there’s deep fried chicken known as KFC, ham and pineapple pizzas and soft serve ice cream with coco pop sprinkles.
While it sounds a little crazy, in the capable hands of two masters it all makes sense when it comes out. The brown fava bean dip has a subtle chilli warmth. It comes with outstandingly fresh bread (good enough to eat on its own) quirkily served in a paper bag. A platter of chicken and lamb meat shaved from the rotisserie is succulent, chewy, delightfully charred and served with a simple wedge of lemon (though perhaps a touch lukewarm on this occasion). Slinky ribbons of grilled zucchini are tossed with lemon juice, dill and scattered with sweet and crunchy candied garlic. And the canoe shaped Turkish style pizzas – filled with combinations such as chicken, chickpea and fetta – comes up beautifully in the wood fired oven.
If Mr Whippy ice cream doesn’t tempt you, then perhaps St Katherine’s take on Eton mess will. Poached, softly-flavoured strawberries mingle with meringue (lightly flavoured with sumac), cream and bashed pistachios to create some tasty textures and a happy ending.
Go medieval with a whole spit-roasted suckling pig. It comes with a slew of Middle Eastern sides and bragging rights. Get. Her. Done. Numbers: 4-16; functions for 20-100 upstairs $85pp.