Restaurateurs from Singapore take on Sydney’s Kensington Street with new eateries

A mixed-use urban village in Kensington developed by Singaporean Stanley Quek (above) is now home to many restaurants.
A mixed-use urban village in Kensington developed by Singaporean Stanley Quek (above) is now home to many restaurants.PHOTO: KENSINGTON STREET

The hip Kensington Street is shaping into a food enclave and Singapore-based chefs are setting up eateries there

Kensington Street, located on the eastern edge of the A$2-billion (S$2-billion) mixed-use urban village - Central Park in Chippendale, Sydney - is shaping up to be a foodie enclave with a Singaporean flavour.

The hip and artsy precinct is developed by Sydney-based developer and real estate company Greencliff Holdings, whose executive chairman, Dr Stanley Quek, is a Singaporean.

A mix of old and new sits cheek by jowl along the 160m stretch. There are cottages dating back to the 1840s, industrial warehouses and modern glass structures.

Other establishments in the area include The Old Clare Hotel by Singaporean hotelier Loh Lik Peng, as well as Central Park Mall. It is also near the bustling Central Railway Station.

Tenants have been moving in since September last year and by the end of this year, chef Lino Sauro, 45, of Gattopardo in Tras Street will open a restaurant there serving Mediterranean-style food.

A mixed-use urban village in Kensington (above) developed by Singaporean Stanley Quek is now home to many restaurants. PHOTO: KENSINGTON STREET

He will be working with local farmers. He says: "It is every chef's dream to open in Australia as you get closer to a wide range of the best ingredients. That is very important for chefs."

Gattopardo in Singapore will undergo renovations in stages and the chef has been building a new team for the restaurant, with a sommelier from Lithuania and an assistant restaurant manager from Friuli, Italy.

Chef Sauro joins the likes of French chef Frederic Colin of Brasserie Gavroche - also in Tras Street - who opened Bistrot Gavroche at Kensington Street, in what was formerly an old rum warehouse.

The menu pays homage to recipes from his childhood days, when he cooked in his grandfather Henri's restaurant. Dishes include Grandpa Henri's pork terrine, Burgundy snails baked in their shell with parsley and garlic butter, and Grandpa Henri's pike fish quenelles with crayfish sauce.

There is also Asian street food. Kopi-Tiam in Spice Alley offers diners a variety of cuisines from Sydney-based chefs - complete with open-air courtyard communal dining. Singaporean chef Alex Lee - from Ginger & Spice in Neutral Bay - runs Alex Kitchen, which serves Hainanese chicken rice, nasi lemak and satay, among other popular Singaporean dishes.

Thai chef Tiw Rakarin, formerly of Mama's Buoi in Surry Hills, serves Thai street food in his outlet called Bang Luck. And in May, he opened Mekong selling Vietnamese cuisine.

Malaysian chef Jim Yong of Uncle Jim's Malaysian Kitchen in Mosman serves dishes such as Penang char kway teow and nasi goreng at Old Jim Kee.

More recent additions to Spice Alley include Japanese restaurant Ky-Oto, which offers ramen in tonkotsu broth, udon and rice dishes such as salmon teriyaki don.

Other notable stops along the street include French-Asian fusion bar Bar Chinois and two-storey dessert restaurant Koi, by MasterChef Australia season seven alumnus Reynold Poernomo and his brother Arnold.

Its menu features beautifully plated desserts, along with dessert cocktails, cakes and coffee.

Dr Quek may add more cuisines, such as Korean and Indian, in the future.

He says: "The new retail is food, with the right ambience and setting. The area caters to university students and we are also at the doorstep of residents.

"It's about building a community and offering affordable comfort food."

• For more information on Kensington Street, go to

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 30, 2016, with the headline 'Singapore feel in Sydney food street'. Print Edition | Subscribe