The Unbearable Lightness of Being Hungry | A Sydney Food Blog

Gastro Park, Potts Point

May 9th, 2011  |  Published in Uncategorized  |  8 Comments

Gastro Park, Potts Point

Gastro Park in Potts Point converts each plate on your table into a playground – ingredients flirt with the colour wheel and inspire stomach-flips and early-childhood thrills. Surprise textures and flavours are part of the adventure.

This is the new restaurant for Grant King, who was head chef at the acclaimed Pier. From the Ralph Steadman-like logo for Gastro Park to the see-through cutlery holders made out of gel and odds-and-ends, everything is spiked with a sense of fun.

Gastro Park, Potts Point

Dishes include Wagyu Grissini flavour-coated in savoury crumbs and shreds of cheese; a ready-for-blast-off Gazpacho served with an avocado “sandwich” (made with lacey-crisp wafers); a Zucchini Tofu accompanied by a “garden” (cucumber ribbons, dried zucchini slices and zucchini powder round out the “greenery”); and Potato “Churros” (golden, crisp-edged and impossibly fluffy and light – the greasy-fingered guilt of eating one is offset by the cheeky joy of it).

Gastro Park, Potts Point

Will loved the Tagliatelle entree, its tangled strands full of resounding flavour thanks to the “textures of duck” and slippery jack mushrooms ($26). His main, Saddle of Lamb was supercharged with cauliflower slivers and wild mushrooms ($38).

My Morel and Truffle Cheese Macaroni ($35) was also brilliant – the intensely savoury “tubes” were ready to be coated in a rich egg yolk confit. A handful of salad leaves and tart Jerusalem artichoke fragments kept it from being overlavish.

Gastro Park, Potts Point

The wonderland quality of Gastro Park is most obvious with the desserts. The Mandarin and Chocolate ($20) is a mini-sculptural installation, with fizzy powder, chocolate shells, parfait and mandarin sauce either hidden or displayed in eye-catching configurations.

The highlight, though, is the Nitro Pavlova ($18), which is a frosty remix of the Australian staple. Dig your spoon right in, and you may scoop out some bracing guava sorbet, coconut “bubbles”, basil seeds or lush shavings of pineapple. It’s a light-headed marvel and light years from the pav you’ll find at a local bake sale.

Gastro Park, Potts Point

Another aspect of Gastro Park we really enjoyed: the service. Especially Julien, our waiter, who previously worked with Grant King at Pier. Not only was he knowledgeable, good-humoured and accommodating, he also wrote down a music recommendation for us when we were trying to case-solve what song was being played as we ate (Shazam had let us down and so had our hopeless brains; we guessed the track to be by Kings of Convenience, Julien corrected us by pointing out it was The Whitest Boy Alive – of course, Erlend Oye’s other band!). It’s an excellent thing that he’s the custodian of the restaurant’s song choices.

Also, the ever-changing menu contributes to the unstaid, playful atmosphere. The head chef decides on what to serve depending on the day’s available produce and seasonality. While key dishes will stay, the not-set-in-stone openness adds a jolt of adventure and invention. The vegetarian menu I chose from was still being finalised at quarter to six before the evening’s service.

Gastro Park, Potts Point

Gastro Park is newly opened – it’s only been around for over two weeks. It’s a great counter-argument to people who assume that crowded restaurants are the best and empty ones are to be avoided. There weren’t many other diners when we were there, mainly because the place’s profile is still low. It’s not going to stay that way for long, given the reputation of its kitchen and the quality and originality on show (also, it’s going to land a major newspaper review rather soon).

This restaurant reminds you that it can be worth taking on that childhood habit of spending hours in a Park.

Gastro Park, 5-9 Roslyn St, Potts Point NSW (02) 8068 1017

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  1. Oooo, looks and sounds great, especially the dessert. Thanks for the quick review!

  2. Amy says:

    Sounds awesome. The pics look incredible! Great light

  3. aconceptcar says:

    What a beautiful color.I love it.

  4. Anonymous says:

    My husband & I dined at Gastro parK last week and we found this the best playground of food we have ever seen! Congratulations to Grant King for achieving his dream and cooking beautiful fresh modern contemporary food which is different and most enjoyable. Go to this new Potts Point Restaurant and you’ll be in for a surprise!

  5. veri maz says:

    everything sounds great to me except the name – is it just me or is gastro not the best word to associate with a restaurant??

  6. Anonymous says:

    Gastro – as in short for Gastronomy ie: the art and science of good eating with a particular focus on gourmet cuisine!

  7. ellen.e says:

    going there tonight! so excited!

  8. Anonymous says:

    Am going there this Friday, and after reading your very sensual & enticing review, I can’t wait! 🙂

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Hi, I'm Lee Tran Lam. When not blogging with my mouth full, I'm usually writing, presenting Local Fidelity on FBi radio, making zines, producing podcasts or continually breaking promises about how I really am gonna get through my book pile one day.

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This is a blog about eating and drinking in Sydney, Australia (with the odd cross-border or off-topic detour). BYO appetite.

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