King Street, that gloriously bustling stretch from St Peters through Newtown and beyond, has long been where it’s happening in the inner west. But, it’s no secret the Newtown end attracts most of the attention. The End of King, almost hidden from view if not for a couple of unassuming tables outside, is another reason why we should be exploring the less trodden paths in life.
First things first: this place isn’t mind-blowingly amazing, but it’s always great to see a venue reinvent itself. Surrounded by retro furniture shops on one side and St Peters Station to the other, The End of King used to be known as the Tram Stop Diner. But apart from a few positive reviews online, that’s about all it was known for. As 2014 became 2015, however, so too came more change: we’re talking new look, new menu and, of course, new name.
Previously no stunner, in comparison the fresh, pale green/blue-painted, wood-heavy fit-out is a mighty fine improvement. It’s also big; organised via share tables (one fat, one thin), bar seating, a line of tables towards the rear and one very cute window spot of potted greenery, a fat hanging brass light and lots of sunlight to watch the world go by. There’s also free Wi-Fi and a long, easy-incline wheelchair ramp too, which is always very nice to see.
While a little rough around the edges compared to similar-style places (think Three Williams), from the cool new logo, bright smiles of the staff (the kind of staff that brings you water, sets down the menu and asks if you need a coffee all in one — my favourite) and the family-influenced philosophy printed at the top of every menu, you can tell thought has gone into the relaunch. Sipping on our Toby’s Estate coffee that arrived promptly and prettily, we learn owner and chef Sal, along with brother Naggy and wife Munu, have been serving up South Nepalese inspired food to Sydneysiders for 15 years. Naturally, we ordered their grandma’s original recipe aloo chop (sauteed and spiced potato cakes, $15.90) and the shakshuka ($16.90).
The former are described as “the best hangover cure this side of the Irrawaddy”. Crispy, carby (although not stodgy) and packing just the right amount of punch via rich, runny yolks of chilli-fried eggs, let’s just say it lives up to its description. The winner of the two, hands down, was the shakshuka. It took longer to arrive, but when it did we paused just a little more: the golden eggs ($2 extra per egg) still-cooking in their rich red tomato ragu and succulent lamb kofta bath, sprinkled with vibrant green coriander, looked almost too good to eat (almost). That and it was bloody hot (as it should be). Thank heavens for the two slices of sourdough to mop up the juices: always the perfect end.
While The End of King may not be perfect, it’s at least ticking all the boxes when it comes to food, service and atmosphere. And really, after a morning of exploring a new part of town, what more could you ask for?