The buzz: The Spa Esprit Group teams up with Chef Ryan Clift for a casual, local produce-driven restaurant with its own urban farm run by the guys of Edible Gardens.
The vibe: The expansive 5,000 sq.m. space is lush and airy with plenty of garden space dedicated to the produce. The main dining room is surprisingly small, which makes the space cozy, if a little raucous. It’s got a breezy PS. Cafe-like atmosphere but most of all, we love the alfresco terrace that’s decked out with clean but cushy deck furniture and comes complete with a fun ping pong table.
The food: Hearty and homey plates of pasta, meats and various starters and salads. With the exception of the addictive Caesar salad with house-smoked chicken and jamon ($22), starters like the seared tuna with green papaya and jicama salad ($26) and fermented carrot tartare ($24) seem overpriced (albeit tasty) compared to the pastas and mains. We say dive straight into toothsome pastas like the creamy rigatoni with local mushrooms ($26) and the warm orecchiette salad with broccolini, golden beets and goat cheese ($24). Likewise, mains like the charred lamb rump with garden peas, mash and rosemary thyme jus ($32) are delicious, if a little reminiscent of Open Door Policy. The Middle Eastern-tasting coal-baked barramundi with cucumber coleslaw and roasted eggplant ($26) is also recommended. Despite all that, the seasoning overall needs a little work, but we’ll chalk that up to teething problems.
The drinks: There’s a well-curated list of organic and biodynamic wines from boutique wineries (from $15/glass) like an easy drinking red Benanti Rosso Di Versella and a well-rounded Champagne ($24) from the De Sousa & Fils vineyard. Cocktails are also fresh and only incorporate herbs grown in the garden. For a hot day, sip on the OFC Gardens Cup ($20) made with Hendricks gin, cucumber, mint and apple juice, as well as the OFC Pimms ($16) with Pimms, ginger ale, strawberry and mint.
Why you’ll be back: It’s fast becoming the ultimate brunch spot and with a little more work, will push out reliable plates made with fresh, locally sourced ingredients.