Where: Shop 3/12 Fitzroy Street, Kirribilli 2061
Opening Hours: Lunch Thu - Fri 12 - 3pm, Sat - Sun 11am - 3pm, Dinner Mon - Sun 5.30pm - late
Phone: 02 9922 3111
Asian fusion tapas restaurant, with hawker style street food, that also does yum cha, sounds a bit confused. Street Market Asian Tapas, however, manages to bring a fresh offering to the many straight-up-and-down Thai restaurants lining the streets of Kirribilli.
The term fusion is very literal here, with six chefs from China, Malaysia, Vietnam, Japan, Indonesia and the Philippines, each bringing their own background and culinary influence to the menu. On it, kimchi, Szechuan spices, ponzu, wasabi, Vietnamese rice paper rolls and san choi bao all sit side-by-side.
Chinese-born owner Alan Liang's intention is "to serve Asian food, Spanish style". As a result, the menu is broken up into cold and hot tapas, hawker-style charcoal barbecue and more substantial dishes such as curries and noodles, all designed to share.
For the most part, it works. The crispy fried spiced chicken with kimchi mayo ($12) is everything you want from fried chicken, tender and crisp with a nice punch from the kimchi-spiked mayo. From the hot tapas section Liang's family recipe steamed pork and prawn wontons ($14) are delicate and a good match with a glass of Paracombe pinto gris from the Adelaide Hills ($7.50.) From the cold tapas menu the richness of salmon Carpaccio ($14) is cut nicely by a sharp Asian vinaigrette and bursts of fresh fish roe.
The charcoal barbecue lends a smoky charred-sweetness to chicken skewers with a traditional sugar cane and vinegar 'Inasal' dressing from the Philippines. While a more substantial pumpkin and tofu curry with cashew nuts ($19) is fairly predictable though satisfying. Sometimes the menu would do better to keep things simple. Some dishes sound a bit too ambitious for the otherwise casual environment, such as the five spiced duck breast, Desiree potato, sautéed wild mushroom, sweet potato puree and anise jus ($27.)
The space is going for semi-industrial meets street-stall cool, but comes off slightly sterile with concrete and recycled furnishings. Though you don't notice much, with a nice buzz building as tables fill up.
To get the most out of Street Market Asian Tapas, stick to the sharing food, bypass the cocktails (we'll pretend we didn't see Sex on the Beach,) get stuck in to the reasonably priced wines (no glass over $9.50,) and let the super-friendly staff look after you. The one thing this place doesn't lack is a smile.
By Monique Lane
Fried chicken with kimchi mayo
Good For Groups: