Wollongong's Babyface Kitchen turned two this year and has not wavered from its promise to deliver farm fresh dishes. The modest restaurant is owned by Burnsbury Hospitality, which also owns the nearby 2 Smoking Barrels barbecue joint and food truck.
The team's commitment to top-notch Aussie produce means the offering changes regularly and focuses on organic and native ingredients — most of which come from local producers, while some is foraged by the chefs. Japanese and Korean cooking methods and ingredients also feature on the menu. To this end, the kitchen makes six different miso, plus its own cultured butter, pickles, vinegar, ferments and koji (a fungus used to make soy sauce and fermented bean paste).
The succinct menu spans raw starters and smalls to large plates and sides. For starters, there are dry-aged duck dumplings with a black garlic, soy and red vinegar dipping sauce ($3.5 each); a rye and wattleseed tart topped with Moreton Bay bug roe, whipped feta and leek ash ($4 each); and roasted cauliflower with pistachio miso and cultured butter on a kombu cracker ($17).
Organic veggies are showcased in the Epicurean Harvest dish of smoked pumpkin, radish, carrot and Japanese leeks with fried buckwheat and feta ($24). Another featuring Asian-inspired ingredients is the Mooloolaba king prawns in a shoyu koji and cultured butter sauce ($49).
To try a bit of everything, there's also a nine-dish tasting menu for $85 per person, or a four-course chef's menu for $70 — available for both lunch and dinner. On the drinks side, the compact wine list focuses on Australian and minimal intervention drops, as you'd expect from this crew.
Babyface Kitchen also runs regular collaboration dinners with wineries, producers and brewers, so keep an eye on their website for upcoming events.
Restaurant interiors: Quicksand Food.