Scorcher reviews: Kensington Food Hall
Kensington Food Hall
520 Macaulay Rd
Click PLAY below to hear Scorcher’s review on 3AW Breakfast
The world is divided into two types of eaters: carers and sharers, folk who prefer to order multiple dishes at a restaurant and divvy up the food with their dining companions, and territorial adheres, who like to have a single dish to themselves and will smite anyone who penetrates their plate’s perimeter.
Fortunately, both types of people are catered for at the newly opened Kensington Food Hall, a relaxed yet stylish wine bar-restaurant with a Spanish bent, brought to you by the team behind neighbourhood favourite Local Folk cafe.
At first glance, it’s the long list of share plate dishes on Kensington Food Hall’s menu that immediately catch the eye. There are also, however, a handful of comfortable classics to keep the territorial adheres happy.
This is what paradox of choice looks like. There are so many tantalising options on the shared plate side of things that I was working myself into a tizz trying to decide what to order.
I did consider trying to work my way through most of the 14 shared plates and have one of the mains – I was famished and my hungry brain was goading me into foolishness – but thankfully the amiable waitress intervened and talked some sense into me. It was decided three shared plates and one main between two would be ample.
For those, like me, who find it hard to make a choice you can go for stress-less $42 ‘Feed Me’ option, where the kitchen will selects six plates for you.
Chef-owner Ashley Benson says he wanted KFH to be a place to congregate, not contemplate.
“This is great option for groups who really just want to catch up and not spend time reading a menu. We take the ‘work’ out of the decision making,” he says.
While I would put myself firmly in the carer and sharer camp, on this occasion I knew I wasn’t going to be able to resist ordering the eight-hour slow cooked lamb shoulder with warm pumpkin and beetroot toss, and broccolini from the mains list.
And I’m glad I did. It pulled apart wonderfully and melted like a Swede in the St Kilda sun.
Now to the dishes you can split.
Freshwater Canadian scallops with jamon chips and port jus were like puffy little angels of awesomeness floating on a creamy cloud of cauliflower puree.
The crispy soft shell crab in a hard taco shell with coriander, radish, snap pea slaw, chilli and mayo was deliciously jolting and energetic, like having Springsteen’s ‘Dancing in the Dark’ playing in your mouth.
And the strapping straps of salt and pepper squid were spiced, lively and golden.
So whichever way you slice it, Kensington Food Hall is a fantastic place to eat.
It’s an honest and interesting neighbourhood belter, just the type of casual canteen Kensington was calling out for.
And Benson would know. He grew up in the inner-north-western suburb and has seen it change from a more working class extension of the CBD to a leafy, baby-riddled, family enclave.
“We want Kensington Food Hall to be a comfortable, classy place where groups can come for dinner, have a fun and relaxed time, enjoy some share plates with friends and good-quality wine,” he says.
And I reckon he’s pulled it off.
Kenso’s new house of hospitality is just the spot to bring both types of eaters together in harmony.