Montreal Canada meets Deep South USA meets Bondi Hipster, you heard right! It sounds odd but it is oh, so right. This North American Modern Australian fusion combines the best of both and the result is amazing. Fat Rupert's (previously known as the Flying Squirrel) is the latest love child of The Bearded Man - a pair of hospitality guys, namely Eli and Dave - who take over sinking ships and help to turn them around.
Front Wall - Pretty Darn Cool
After the initial relaunch, the menu underwent a massive transformation from Spanish tapas to what can only be described as a North American Australian fusion. Charcuterie platters were replaced by buttermilk fried chicken and the standard side salad replaced by a well constructed and thought out target beetroot salad with crispy buckwheat and perfectly dressed greenery to match.
These guys have taken the sourcing of local ingredients to a whole new level, growing some of their produce in planter beds on the adjoining side street, accessible to the whole community, promoting healthy eating and definitely minimising their carbon footprint. They try to source local ingredients from a range of local growers and keep their menu seasonal.
The Building's "Tattoo"
As you'd expect from a restaurant run by a Canadian chef and a Bondi "Hipster" the ambiance has throwbacks to the deep south USA whiskey bar and also the Canadian Lumberjack-esque eatery. There's exposed timber, a raw giant hardwood bar, a random collection of assorted antique goods and staff armed with ironic facial hair.
For lunch I don't think you can go past the Yeezy Burgers. These little sliders pack a punch and everything except the bun is all home made. The pickles they make in-house to assure the right mix of sweetness and acidity and the patty is carefully massaged in such a way that all the grain of the mince is all going the same way to ensure the burger is perfect. These guys are so good, they took out Best Burger in NSW for 2014. They come as a board of four sliders and are the perfect starter or part of a main (or even dessert) for any meal.
If the Yeezy burger didn't tickle your fancy then the aptly named "KFC" burger would have to. This has their famous buttermilk fried chicken on a brioche bun, with spicy slaw, served again as a board of 4 sliders.
Buttermilk Fried Chicken
For the fried chicken puritans amongst you, the "plain" (using the word very loosely i.e. not on a burger) old fashioned buttermilk fried chicken is sensational. Topped with the spicy slaw and a drizzle of honey with a homemade chickpea puree underneath, this chicken is so darn moorish you will be fighting over the last piece.
The food is all presented beautifully with a well thought out combination of textures, colours and flavours. It has the look, taste and flavour pairing of fine dining without the price-tag or snooty restaurant feel.
I would recommend coming and getting the tasting menu - $49 a head for 5 - 6 courses which includes dessert. Their cheesecake changes weekly, from a rainbow one around Mardi Gras, to a "Stoner's Delight" complete with crisps, bacon pieces, chilli chocolate and a delicious smooth creamy cheesecake. The service is attentive but relaxed, leaving you to enjoy your meal without disturbance but not leaving you waiting for anything.
Their wine list is short, but well thought out and well paired with their food. They have a good choice of boutique beers from hoppy goodness through to smooth lagers. I have a real soft spot for Fat Rupert's: I met my partner here and she and I go here every year for our anniversary.