27 February 2012

Kitchen by Mike: Fresh produce menu changes daily, Rosebery (26 Feb 2012)

85 Dunning Avenue, Rosebery NSW 2018

Fresh is best but at a price

“Kitchen by Mike’s food section changes daily, with the menu being dictated by what produce is the freshest and most flavoursome at the market each morning – whatever has been the particular catch of the day. No point in keeping something on a menu if it isn’t going to shine.”

Fresh is best as they say and it’s quite obvious that Kitchen by Mike enjoys living by that food philosophy when you see the dishes being made in the busy kitchen during service. It does seem to come at a price though and it’s hard not to think you’re getting taken for a ride when they charge by the scoop rather than weight. As you watch the scoop of salad being formed you start to hope you get a bit of everything with that serving but I think they’re conscious of this fact. The Roast chicken with carrot and onion ($19?, or was it around $12) had good flavours with fairly tender meat but seemed very expensive for the portion size and perhaps would have been better value if it included a scoop of salad of choice. You’ll need to decide on a thigh, breast or leg piece and hope you get a decent amount of meat on it too.

The Grilled sardines ($2.50 each, 2 pieces ordered) were flavoursome but again seemed expensive when they’re just served on their own although it did come with bit of cous cous salad in the dish. Perhaps the key is being a bit selective and pointing out the better (larger) piece you’d prefer if they allow — they should, it’s your money. The Blue cheese and onion tart ($10) had good flavour and nice pasty but just served on its own. I wish it included a side salad to make it more of a dish for the price. There was a few enticing salads on display and I chose the freshly made Cos lettuce salad along with the red cabbage salad and interesting and vibrant coloured tomato with watermelon salad ($13.50 for 3 salads, 2 x $4 and $5.50). The ingredients were noticeably fresh and the dressing was good. It tasted healthy and I wish I knew more about the ingredients used like if it was organic and if the tomatoes were heirloom or not, I’m suspecting not though. Watch out for the hot slices of green chilli in the cos lettuce — they took me by surprise. Some shavings of quality parmesan would have been very welcomed by me in the salad. I noticed a large group of about 12 getting served full platters of salads and dishes — I wondered how much per person it would have cost them to dine.

To quench the thirst I tried the Watermelon, ginger and mint fruit juice ($4.50) with its subtle ginger hint and Freshly squeezed orange juice ($4) which was sweet as hoped. The bottles were chilled and ready to serve but were quite small. I would have maybe preferred them served in perhaps a larger glass and made to order but I guess it's a time management issue. Making room for a few sweet treats I chose the Carrot cake, Filled puff pastry and Brownie ($15.50 for all 3). I really liked the flavours of the Carrot & cardamom cake ($6.50?) which perhaps would have gone well with a good dollop of double cream or ice cream to give it a bit more moisture. I’ve never seen actual carrot slices on a cake before which were nicely caramelized for sweetness. The Brownie ($6?) had a nice chocolate flavour although crumbly to the touch — perhaps it was flourless or dairy-free, perhaps not? The Filled puffed pastry ($3) was smallish but a good side treat with a coffee if you just want to be half naughty. The Skim cappuccino ($3.50) needed a bit more work on the latte art but was pretty good as well as the Hot chocolate ($3.50). If you don’t have to eat and run spend a bit of time next door at Koskela. The homewares are quite interesting and creative although be prepared that quality and style doesn't come cheap.

PROS: Food made fresh each day, Quality ingredients, Decent amount of seating both inside and outside, Nice open space, Service seemed accommodating and friendly enough, Lots of free street parking
CONS: Menu changes every day so hard to recommend a dish that might not be available again, Can take a while to order when busy, Can get expensive
MUST TRY: Anything that tickles your fancy as long as you don’t worry about the price you’ll be paying, I’ve been recommended to try the pancakes but they were sold out by the time I arrived
BABY ON BOARD: Plenty of room to move, Baby change table needed in disabled toilet
THE DAMAGE: $78.50 for two

Service counter to order your dishes, open kitchen behind

I'm wondering if this was Mike? He seemed to be in charge and was quite particular about the selection and portioning of the dishes.

Roast chicken with carrot and onion ($19?) — With the 2 pieces of sardines it came to $24 and I think the sardines were $2.50 each.

Sardines ($2.50 each, 2 pieces ordered)

Blue cheese and onion tart ($10)

Cos lettuce salad; red cabbage salad and tomato with watermelon salad ($13.50 for 3 salads, 2 x $4 and $5.50)

Watermelon, ginger and mint fruit juice ($4.50), Freshly squeezed orange juice ($4)

Carrot cake, Filled puff pastry, Brownie ($15.50 for all 3)

Carrot & cardamom cake ($6.50?)

Brownie ($6?)

Filled puffed pastry ($3)

Skim cappuccino ($3.50)

Hot chocolate ($3.50)

Bill $78.50 for two — seemed quite pricey for the amount of food ordered

Drinks menu. Food menu changes daily so there isn't really one.

Table order number for the coffees

Jams for $10 made on site

Main dining area inside

Outside courtyard seating

Covered outside verandah seating — a few potted plants or herbs might be nice around the tables to give some life. A bit short on cutlery buckets out here compared to inside.

Window to the kitchen

You can ring my bell

Biodegradable hand liquid soap smelt like eucalyptus which was quite nice. Tap height is set unfortunately quite low to sink so it's a little awkward to actually put your hands under them to wash.

I'm getting a sustainable, repurpose and environmentally conscious feel from this toilet

Waterblock material for toilet walls left unrendered and raw — I assume to save costs and keep it as environmental as possible by not using excess materials

Old school taps — I'm assuming these are cheap to buy or do you think they paid a lot to get this look? Similar style to Bloodwood

Outside street entrance

Table with pot plants

Nice coloured pencils

Kids tippee although would you pay $770 for it?

Retro tricycle

Cute idea for a balloon powered bath boat for the kids although at $40 I might stick to a rubber ducky for now

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Miss Kimbers said...

Seems expensive for what you get.
Isn't the chicken just one drumstick? I can buy a kilo for $3 at the supermarket...
Are the chairs comfortable?
Haha the tippee! Yes, you could make one out of tomato garden stakes and a tarpoleon (I can't spell) for a lot less than $770.

Sara - Belly Rumbles said...

I have read quite a few blog reviews on Mikes now. Each time I can't help but think it seems very expensive for what it is. $78 for 2 for a very casual lunch, which is pretty basic, seems very steep to me, I can't even factor in location as being something to up the price. yes food does look good, but not that good.

Simon Leong said...

hi miss kimbers, you are correct — just one drumstick, or thigh or breast depending on what you choose. the chairs outside were OK although a little low so could be uncomfortable for a long time. i didn't try the chairs inside though.

hi sara, if you don't think about the price you should enjoy the food more :-) that's what I do sometimes. i wouldn't expect the area to be high in rent so I'm not quite sure why it is costing so much but perhaps mike can shine some light on this for us?

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