Salted & Hung: A culinary adventure
Australian chef Drew Nocente has re-emerged at Salted & Hung, a stark, modern and casual dining experience
I was heartbroken when one of my favourite restaurants, 5th Quarter, closed down.
But the team, led by Australian chef Drew Nocente, has re-emerged at Salted & Hung.
Dishes are meant to be shared and an item from each section gives you an idea of what Salted & Hung offers.
And here's the good news: some 5th Quarter dishes turned up on Salted & Hung's small but impactful menu.
Chef Nocente's strength is using the various cuts and parts of an animal, with smoking, curing and pickling highlighted in every dish. It makes for a culinary adventure.
One of the reasons why I loved 5th Quarter was the gaudy (some say tacky) decor. I felt like a courtesan lounging in a boudoir.
Here, it is stark, modern and casual. It is far from what 5th Quarter looked like - as if the crew wanted to shake off bad memories.
One of the most memorable dishes here is the kangaroo ($18) served tartare style. It took me a moment to get over the unease. There is a delicate sweetness to the meat and less of a chew as I had expected (my head was filled with images of hopping marsupials). The blood orange creme that surrounds the meat helps, too. I don't know if I would order this again but you should try it at least once.
The gin-cured Mackerel ($18) is a popular dish here, and not just because it's pretty. While there is no denying its beauty, I like that the flavours from the compressed cucumber, nori and horseradish add layers.
Ocean Trout ($18) is a crowdpleaser. The accompaniments add to the dish, too. The bits of pomelo give it texture and the drops of avocado add creaminess.
It takes supreme confidence to present a dish simply. The key ingredients in Barramundi ($38) are scallops, chorizo and buckwheat risotto, but it feels like a meal. The fish is cooked well, but it's the flavourful buckwheat risotto that seals the deal.
The cauliflower ($14) is interesting but didn't register until I looked at the pictures I took of my meal. The Black Mash ($10) - a standout at 5th Quarter - is also served here. Order that instead.
Salted & Hung
12, Purvis Street
Weekdays noon to 2.30pm (lunch), Mondays to Saturdays 6pm to 10.30pm