St. Katherine’s seems to have confused Age/Herald Sun reviewers and ultra yuppie Kew trust fund babies alike. A suburban incarnation of The Press Club was wishful thinking on their behalf. Instead, it is a casual Mediterranean inspired interpretation where friends and families can all find something delicious to share. St. Kat’s always looks quite full from the street, no matter what time of day you pass by. Kew residents and those from further afield are flocking to the latest hotspot from George Calombaris and Shane Delia.
The design of the restaurant is warm and inviting. Plain pastels are set before a backdrop comprising of a full spit and bustling kitchen. During a recent visit, wait staff were friendly and enthusiastic whilst seeming to know the menu back to front. Although the waiter told us the Fried Chicken and Ribs were for kids, that didn’t stop anyone from ordering exactly what they came for. He was right about the chicken, if by ‘for kids’ he meant ‘nothing special’. That being said, everything on the menu seemed interesting and appealing and it’s the kind of place where you want to try everything.
We started with olives and sangria whilst perusing the somewhat eclectic menu encompassing Spanish, Greek and Middle Eastern influences. The mini lamb dumplings impressed everyone at the table, as did the lamb ribs. Coca Cola lamb ribs with candied coconut – sounded like a good idea to me and it didn’t fail to leave a good taste in my mouth. The ribs were tender and a nice blend of sticky, sweet and rich. The selection of pide was extensive and set the standard for the rest of the feast. Pides on offer include Lebanese lamb sausage, candied onions, vine tomatoes and thyme ($15) and goat’s cheese, hazelnuts, winter mushrooms and cumin ($15).
Dessert offerings were equally appealing. Old school Mr Whippy ice cream with baklava or salted caramel with chocolate pomegranate sauce was the primo choice for kids and big kids alike. The “Disgusting Dessert” – ‘inspired by our favourite candy bars’ was ambitious. Most elements were great, honeycomb, peanuts in caramel and coconut ice cream all hit the spot but the cherry foam was sickly sweet and reminiscent of cough syrup.
Mentions of poor service in both reviews and general comments seem to have been a bit premature. The opening of any new restaurant is going to be subject to teething problems as staff find their bearings and kinks are ironed out. St. Katherine’s is the kind of place you want to go to spontaneously with mates, not have to wait weeks for a free table. Unfortunately it is so popular that you have to book at least a week or two in advance.
Don’t go. Try it. Must go.