Review: Pitt St Diner (Redfern)

Pitt St Diner has a new owner, and it’s our good friend Gary Prebble! And it all happened just in time to celebrate my sister Gladys’ birthday. But before digging into the details of the meal, let the restaurateur introduce himself:

I started professional a la carte cooking in 1995 in New Zealand. My early influence was boss/chef Richard Thomas, who was selected to represent New Zealand in the culinary olympics during that time. He was a serious chef whom I worked side by side in a two-man kitchen. The motto that sticks from my time with Richard is, “cook with your head in the pot”, he didn’t do anything in halves. Seasoning, tasting and more seasoning with long days and nights was the bottom line. He taught me a lot.

I worked at the best restaurants in my home town of Tauranga/Mt Maunganui in NZ including my first Head Chef position in 1998 where I sourced all the organic ingredients direct from the producers.

I moved to Australia in 1999.

One of my best jobs in Sydney was in Bondi Beach at The Earth Food Store, an oasis of beauty and lush organic goodness. The food/cooking was varied and the owner/manager Caroline Atwool was, and continues to be, a paragon of sanity and inspiration. She has a grounded sense of what constitutes real food that sustains, and takes this into all aspects of her business.

During my undergraduate studies in Literature, Theatre and Education I also did a summer at Lucio’s in Paddington as a waiter which was an amazing, and still informing experience. This is a beautiful and classical restaurant where chef Logan Campbell and the team serve incredible Ligurian region inspired dishes.

After doing an my degree I also worked for a fantastic company in Bondi called the Cook and Baker, well worth checking out if you like a naughty, fatty freshly baked treat. Working with Tass, Cherie and Troy at the C&B made me realise I wanted to open a restaurant that serves honest and tasty food, with good wines in an unpretentious environment.

This is what I am working at the Pitt St Diner.

I’ve known Gary for four years and have had the privilege of eating his food many times. As his bio suggests, he’s very passionate about cooking and food quality. He loves fresh, clean flavours, and is not afraid of trying new combinations. While in his new role of business owner he’s not directly responsible for the cooking process, he is making sure his philosophy and general positive attitude are present in every aspect of the restaurant.

Pitt St Diner is small and cosy. Black and white strips dominate the wall that opposes the stainless steel of the open kitchen. There are a few tables outdoors, and a private room that will fit 12 people.

Pitt St Diner

Pitt St Diner

For Gladys’ birthday, the chef prepared a spectacular gluten-free banquet (I’ll throw in my usual disclaimer here: my photos don’t make the food justice). Check it out:

Entrée
Chicken and coconut soup with Thai herbs and lime

Main
Slow roasted salt crust sirloin
Soy mirin braised lamb ribs
Pork shoulder
Twice-cooked spatchcock with grilled lemon and oregano

Sides
Green salad with fresh herbs
Grilled sweetcorn
Glazed star anise and vinegar beetroot
Roast zucchini with garlic and herbs
Roast pumpkin with cumin and sea salt, baked eggplant and paprika

Sauces
Mustard selection
Horseradish cream, red wine roasted onion jus

The tangy soup was a great starter and a crowd pleaser.

Chicken and coconut soup with Thai herbs and lime

Chicken and coconut soup with Thai herbs and lime

The meats were all great and plentiful. My favourite was the pork shoulder (cooked Asian-style, with bok choy) and the spatchcock. The soy mirin braised lamb ribs were super tender, and very flavourful, although a tad too sweet.

Pork shoulder

Pork shoulder

Twice-cooked spatchcock with grilled lemon and oregano

Twice-cooked spatchcock with grilled lemon and oregano

The sirloin was good, and beautifully complemented by the mustard selection, the delicious horseradish cream and the sweet red wine roasted onion jus.

Slow roasted salt crust sirloin

Slow roasted salt crust sirloin – medium

Slow roasted salt crust sirloin

Slow roasted salt crust sirloin – well done

Horseradish cream, red wine roasted onion jus

Horseradish cream, red wine roasted onion jus

Mustard selection

Mustard selection

The simple green salad with fresh herbs gained character with the perfect vinaigrette it was served with, but the best sides for me were the roast pumpkin with cumin and sea salt and the baked eggplant and paprika. The roast zucchini with garlic and herbs was also a great accompaniment and the grilled sweetcorn seemed to be a winner with the grain eaters.

Green salad with fresh herbs

Green salad with fresh herbs

Roast pumpkin with cumin and sea salt, baked eggplant and paprika

Roast pumpkin with cumin and sea salt, baked eggplant and paprika

Grilled sweetcorn

Grilled sweetcorn

By the end of the meal we thanked the chef for what was an outstanding dinner. Apparently, he was surprised we nearly finished all that food.

And because there’s no birthday with no cake, I made this no joke dark chocolate cake with a few tweaks: I used less maple syrup and more eggs, did two layers instead of four, used a dark chocolate/butter mixture as filling, and topped it with double cream with powdered lúcuma (a Peruvian fruit) and grated dark chocolate.

Birthday cake

Birthday cake

Paleo chocolate cake with lucuma cream

Paleo chocolate cake with lúcuma cream

Pitt St Diner
96 Pitt St
Redfern NSW 2016
(02) 8668 5936
pittstdiner.com.au

Pitt St Diner on Urbanspoon


3 comments

  1. I’ve seen this plate A LOT in my wanderings up Redfern Street – I love the decor and the food looks good. Very nice when a chef will customize a menu for something. That’s a special touch.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s