Could you get more theatrical than glorious Walsh Bay? Soaring warehouse conversions, the glittering harbour — and the iconic STC at the hub of the Arts Precinct.
Walsh Bay Kitchen, within the Roslyn Packer Theatre, opens its doors on the burgeoning food strip of Hickson Road. The space is slick with off-Broadway style: think parquetry floors and leather banquettes. The recessed lightboxes seem a nod to stage lights, casting dress circle moodiness. But instead of the whispers of a reverent audience, here chatter bounces off the upholstered walls. If mirth and merriment bars a thousand harms and lengthens life, there isn’t a better reason to catch an end-of-season show and dig in here.
Specialising in pre-theatre dining and post-show supper, the restaurant opened to coincide with the launch of The Present and was thrust into the world. The fare, with hints of modern Asian, isn’t reinventing the wheel. Like Upton and Chekhov, classic combinations needn’t be toyed with. And with daily lunch specials of nachos, fish and chips and spag bol, it seems head-chef Kay Huang is playing down any stuffiness once associated with theatre-going.
The dinner menu (two course $47, three course $57 with a glass of wine) offers good food piled high on stunning, Insta-worthy glazed plates, like free range chicken pat? with moscato jelly, pickle and baguette toast ($16). There’s a bar menu for grazing over aperitif hour; the ginger scallop ceviche a highlight ($16).
It’s a decidedly Sydney spread, from zingy Japanese to the creamy bistro classic of the snapper. The unabashedly rich chocolate slice for dessert ($14) is a fitting finale in a town that prides itself on flamboyance, cut by a good dose of sea salt.
There are many reasons catching a play is a good idea — the thrill of entertainment with an intimacy often lacking in our screen-obsessed world — and Walsh Bay Kitchen is one more. Simplicity with an elegant, Australian ease, this is a place you’ll sneak into at intermission and come back to again, ticket not necessary.
Walsh Bay Kitchen is also open Sundays as per the performance schedule.