Clayton Wells' diner doles out an all-day offering, from breakfast doughnuts to lamb shoulders and batched cocktails.
UPDATE: MARCH 26, 2020 — Chippendale's A1 Canteen is closed to dine-in customers, but is now offering its popular breakfast dishes and sandwiches for takeaway, every day from 8am–3pm. Pick up a curried egg and LP's sausage muffin ($16) for breakfast or swing by at lunchtime for a haloumi and hummus sandwich ($17) or a roll packed with fried prawns, jalapeño hot sauce and mayo ($17). You can check out the full takeaway offering here. If you are going out to support local businesses, have a look at the latest COVID-19 advice and social-distancing guidelines from the Department of Health.
Chef Clayton Wells has won over many a Chippendale foodie's heart since opening Automata on the ground floor of the Old Clare Hotel in 2015. And now he's extended his reach, opening a new casual all-day eatery just 20 metres away.
A1 Canteen is now open on the ground floor of The Old Rum Store on Kensington Street, the same building that houses Olio, Bistrot Gavroche and Eastside Kitchen. Whatever the time of day — and whatever the nature of your hunger — you'll be able to satisfy it. A1 will be open for brekkie, lunch, dinner and snacks, including pastries and sandwiches, so you can sit down and take your time or grab a tasty morsel and run.
At breakfast, you'll find a takes on a ploughman's plate — with boiled egg, shaved ham, fermented cabbage and pickled chilli — a grilled mortadella and fried egg sanga, eggs benedict with blood cake and breakfast doughnuts (with mandarin curd and clotted cream, no less). The restaurant soft-opened over the weekend, and, if first reactions are anything to go by, the curried egg scramble with LP's sausage and english muffin is set to become the restaurant's most popular (or, at least, most Instagrammed) breakfast.
At lunch, Wells is catering to those who need to get in-and-out quick with an "easy, one plate situation". You'll be able to choose a protein — roasted lamb shoulder, hot smoked trout, spiced chicken or roasted celeriac — and pair it with two salads of your choice for $22. For those who prefer their lunches a bit carbier, there's also a lineup of sandwiches, ranging from a salted beef bagel, to a fried eggplant sandwich and a pressed baguette, which is Wells's take on a New Orleans muffaletta.
Return at night and you'll find a menu with slightly more similarities to sister-venue Automata. Split into small and large plates, a steamed clams with anchovy butter sit in the former and a black angus hanger steak with pine mushrooms in the latter. Drinks, as you'd expect, are equally impressive and extensive, with Single O coffee and cold-pressed juices in the morning, and batched cocktails, local beers, an interesting — and affordable — wine list available from lunch.