The Unbearable Lightness of Being Hungry | A Sydney Food Blog

Spencer Guthrie, Newtown

March 10th, 2012  |  Published in Uncategorized  |  7 Comments

Spencer Guthrie

If you’re in Newtown and have Thai restaurant overload, new fine-diner Spencer Guthrie is a brilliant option. In fact, the site for Troy Spencer and Oliver Guthrie’s new venture actually had a former life serving wokfuls of pad thai, but the owners have reworked it into a smart, understated 30-seater, with bentwood chairs, exposed walls and lovely pressed-tin panelling. Chefs Spencer and Guthrie met at La Sala six years ago; Spencer wound up at French bistro L’Etoile, Guthrie at Italian landmark Lucio’s and now they’re in a kitchen that’s lettersealed in their own name. Ethics and sustainability shape the contemporary menu, while still giving flavour a lot of mileage.

Spencer Guthrie, Newtown

After enjoying slices of house bread – baked with the zip of thyme and pepper – you might pick dishes such as Charred Squid with Smoked Tomatoes, Chilli and Puffed Rice ($20) or Pork Belly with with Caramelised Peaches ($30). I particularly liked the beetroot entree, with red and golden varieties overlapping on a creamy, nutty cloud of goat’s cheese and walnuts. A dash of horseradish adds a spiky, wildcard element to it all. The Grilled Eggplant, Romano Pepper & Quinoa ($27) has a lot of firepower – perhaps too much, as the peppers end up stealing top-billing attention away from the lovely, cooked-to-collapse eggplant. Dessert is an indecision-triggering affair (Hazelnut Cheesecake, Salted Caramel & Almond Sorbet or Chocolate Tart with Buttermilk Ice-Cream?), but the “what to choose?” dilemma is just the long-haul route to finally getting the Orange-scented Ricotta Cake ($15), a thin, light sweet given some savoury back-up with olive oil and thyme ice-cream (which may sound oddball, but it actually has a whistle-clean taste and a gentle, just-there punch) and a tropical medley of cubed mango and passionfruit. It’s excellent and doesn’t make you mourn the reduced access to green curry or pad thai at all. In a postcode full of so-so cafes and Thai overkill, Spencer Guthrie is a welcome new fixture. It slots in nicely between the more casual Bloodwood across the street and degustation-only Oscillate Wildly around the corner – and is fully its own character. Introduce yourself, it’s worth it.

Spencer Guthrie, 399 King Street, Newtown NSW (02) 8068 1080, You can also follow Spencer Guthrie on Facebook.

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  1. Y says:

    What a lovely sounding place! Looking forward to checking it out.

  2. Mmm, the other dishes sound good too. Only 5 dishes on the menu, but dang they all sound GOOD.

  3. You always seem to get to the smart new places first!

    Are you tempted by Sixpence? I’ve heard some early good reports.

  4. tori says:

    Olive oil and thyme ice cream? Next time we get back, I’m in.

  5. I haven’t seen this place yet! Chucked in my to-try list!

  6. Erstwhile says:

    Was there for dinner in their opening week. Amazing. As a jaded Newtown local, tired of Thai, crap cafe food and no other choices, at last a decent eatery that serves delectable, thought-provoking and ethical food!

  7. leetranlam says:

    Glad the response has been kind so far. Newtown could do with more places like this. Yes, Richard, I finally got around to Sixpenny last week! Was just waiting for my boyfriend to get back from overseas so I had someone to go with. It was worth the patience!

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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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