If you've walked past Crown Street Fish Shop lately, you'll notice that it's been cut in half. That's because the southern end of the Surry Hills eatery is now home to Cubby's Kitchen, a Lebanese pop-up restaurant from Sydney restauranteur Matt Yazbek.
Yazbek is best known as the founding man behind the highly successful Toko restaurant empire, which boasts Japanese eateries in Melbourne and Dubai as well as Sydney. Now he's turned his hand closer to his family's Lebanese heritage, launching the long-term pop-up restaurant with his two sisters, Amanda and Diala. The family affair doesn't stop there though — the trio have named the eatery after their mother Mouna's nickname, Cubby. In an extreme nod to authenticity, the whole family will be working side by side in the kitchen, pumping out Lebanese cuisine with a modern spin.
Diners can expect traditional Lebanese dishes like smoked labne with crushed pistachio and pomegranate chilli oil, chicken legs with black garlic, basturma (cured beef) rolls and a falafel kebab. All is not lost in terms of Yazbek's Toko heritage — Japanese flavours sneak in on plates like the hummus with chilli edamame and babaghanoush with sweet miso.
On the dessert front, there'll be the tantalising blend of Lebanese doughnuts with cinnamon and maple goats' cheese. Currently the restaurant is operating on a BYO licence (with $8 corkage per bottle), which has us jumping for joy. For the indecisive, Cubby's is also offering Cubby's Course, a nine-course feast for $45 per person.
Crown Street is in the midst of a middle eastern resurgence, with rumours that an Arabic-inspired restaurant called Nour will be opening just down the road. This comes off the back of the announcement that Salts Meat Cheese will collaborate with Shuk, opening a new restaurant and rooftop bar in Circular Quay.
While Cubby's Kitchen is technically a pop-up, we've been assured that it's here to stay. The restaurant will test out the space for 12 months, after which time they'll make the decision to remain in the space or move to another location in Surry Hills. Bring on the falafel.
Cubby's Kitchen is now open at 500 Crown Street, Surry Hills. It's open Monday through Saturday from 5.30pm till late. For more info visit cubbyskitchen.com.au.