When executive chef Grant King announced the closing of Gastro Park, we were pretty bummed. But his new venture Antipodean has turned our frown upside-down, and into a beaming burrata-loving smile.
The restaurant ticks all the boxes, with the ambience, service and even the tableware up to the classiest of standards. But then, that's to be expected from King — Gastro Park was two-hatted. Of course, it's in the food that the new digs won a special place on our go-to list. As the restaurant's name suggests, it sources only produce from Australia and New Zealand, and it's these ingredients that really shine in King's dishes. Even the sourdough is next-level, which is accompanied by salted butter ($2) or a super indulgent crab sauce ($3). All the while, the Antipodean wine list serves up delectable drop after drop. It's all good.
The menu is well suited for sharing and is the best way to taste the lot. The current seasonal menu includes a artichoke truffle fritter ($12) stuffed with cream cheese and super succulent barbecue beef ($6), served on skewers of rosemary. The pepperberry-cured alpine salmon ($24) is some of the best we've had — super fresh and served with heart of palm and seasonal finger lime. The pepperberry adds an unusual touch.
Keep room for the burrata ($19), which is served with fried cabbage leaf and a gives a slight balsamic hit. If you head in soon, grab the seasonal John Dory ($38), which comes out baked whole along with fermented shiitake mushrooms and sweet, smoky charred leeks. For one of the most unusual desserts in the city, go for the marigold ice cream ($15). Strangely not floral at all, it is rather creamy and sweet, garnished with marigolds and topped with torched and caramelised mandarins that are reminiscent of honeycomb.
While we wouldn't say the restaurant has a casual vibe as was initially promised, it is definitely more of an accessible, neighbourhood venue than Gasto Park. Of course, it is no cheap eats destination, but the price is certainly worth it for a special night out.