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Odd Culture Newtown

An exciting Newtown wine bar with cracking French-meets-Japanese fare from the team behind the Old Fitz.
By Suz Tucker
November 08, 2021
By Suz Tucker
November 08, 2021

Update Tuesday, February 14: Odd Culture Newtown is now open for breakfast from 7am each day. You can find hot cups of coffee and tasty cold brew alongside buttermilk pancakes and bacon butties. The more adventures among us can start their day with the blood pancake served with a fried egg and chilli maple syrup, combining the sweet, savoury and spicy into one memorable dish.

Odd Culture has set up shop in the space formerly occupied by King Street dumpling institution Happy Chef, left vacant since a devastating fire in 2018. Now, a French-leaning slick diner and wine bar combo has risen, phoenix-like, out of the literal and proverbial ashes — with approval from the Happy Chef crew — to bring an exciting new venue to Newtown's busiest strip.

Odd Culture is a venture by the team behind The Old Fitz and The Duke of Enmore, so the mood is decidedly relaxed. The fit out — all exposed brick, high ceilings and airy street-facing windows — has all the stamps of a good, friendly neighbourhood pub. They've even painted a vintage Reschs advertisement replica on the wall to really hammer it home.

But behind the bar and in the kitchen, they're cooking up something a little more special than your average drop-in drinks joint.

Executive Chef James MacDonald (formerly of Hubert) and Head Chef Jesse Warkentin, bring to the menu a collision of traditional French influence and exciting Japanese flavours, delivered with great seasonal ingredients and gorgeous plating flair. Case in point: the chicken liver pate with fish sauce caramel served with potato chips is simultaneously sweet, salty and piquant — a terrific umami hit.

The menu is arranged by portion size: snacks, small and large. Smalls might include a lively beef tartare ($20), an extremely good confit duck with bitter leaves, corn and bacon ($28), and one of the prettiest vegetarian dishes we've seen for a while of pickled beets with yoghurt, raspberry and sunflower seeds ($16).

The large plates range from blood pancake with pork jowl and fried egg ($26) to a no-messing-around bacon chop with buttermilk and pickles ($52), and definitely favours carnivorous patrons with big appetites.

The wine list, steered by Odd Culture Group beverage manager Jordan Blackman, is generous and varied with a focus on natural wines, and there's a dozen beers on tap with a hefty selection of international craft beers in the fridge.

Come hungry and thirsty with a date or a group of pals. They're open until 2am on weekends so no need to rush, either.

Odd Culture is one of our favourite spots for a drink. So much so that it features in our list of the 20 best bars Sydney has to offer. Browse the full list for all of the city's top watering holes.

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