In Sydney’s Inner South, 15-minute cab ride from the CBD. PROFILED BY DE GROOTS MEDIA
Alexandria is an unlikely place to find a rocking restaurant, let alone cooking of this calibre. The mastermind of restaurateur Rob Rubis, Vicinity boasts a theatrical, glamorous, Soho-meets-Sydney warehouse design with soaring ceilings, dramatic room dividers and low slung metal lights. Despite its aesthetic, Vicinity has the snugly comfortable feel of a local favourite. But it’s not just a restaurant – this 250-seater is also home to a private dining room, an outdoor area with intimate fireplaces where guests can mingle over a pre-dinner cocktail and a casual lounge area apt for long weekend brunches. Tick, tick, tick.
But you can spend all the money in the world ($2.5 million, to be exact) on a fitout and if the food falls wayside, you haven’t got a chance. Thankfully the kitchen is in the confident hands of Head Chef Paul Pereira who has wooed foodies across the globe at establishments such as Lindsay House in London, Finefish in Cremorne and most recently, Forbes and Burton in Darlinghurst. There's clearly a formula to Pereira's style and it revolves around cooking on the spit or grilling over wood. Tonight the ‘kindle, coal and fire’ specials include sirloin and barramundi. We opt for both. The sirloin is coupled with potato fondant, carrot puree and drizzed with bone marrow butter while the crisp skin barramundi is paired with black olive puree, chorizo cubes and mayonnaise. Pereira’s combinations are spot on and both proteins are cooked to perfection. The chips come highly recommended, served with a range of salts and mayonnaise – none of which are really needed and a side of crunchy cauliflower bulbs topped with tempered mustard seeds, curry leaf and green chilli will convert any hater of the usually-bland white vegetable. The ticks continue. We also like that they aim to keep things mostly local, with wines (which can be served in 500ml carafes) from Mudgee, Marlborough, Orange and Yarra Valley and coffee from Morgans in Emu Plains.
Sydney’s Inner South has never really been a dining destination. That was until The Grounds of Alexandria and Bread and Circus– now Vicinity has hit the scene, all I can say is watch out 2010.