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Wednesday, September 15, 2010

WLG Wellington pop-up restaurant, Sydney

Not even a downpour of late afternoon rain could dampen the enthusiasm of diners at the opening night of the WLG Wellington pop-up restaurant in Sydney last night.

The old Bayswater Brasserie site has been transformed into a showcase of Wellington's finest produce, an impressive display of wines, chocolates and fresh vegetables creating a vibrant market atmosphere that spills throughout the cosy bistro.

Fresh produce that doubles as the chefs' larder

In the kitchen are Wellingtonian chefs who have been brought over especially for the pop-up restaurant's two-week duration. Sean Connelly pulls me into the kitchen to take a photo of him and current resident head chef, Jacob Brown, from The Larder, Wellington. Jacob's no stranger to Sydney, with an extensive CV that includes stints at Sean's Panaroma, Bennelong Restaurant, Hyde Park Cafe, Fuel Bistro, Echoes Boutique Hotel, and seven years at Tabou Restaurant.

Sean Connelly with Jacob Brown (The Larder, Wellington)

"Take another one!" Sean insists, and pulls Jacob a little closer.

He bounds over for a look and nods with approval. "Awww.... we look like a couple!"

Wellington food heroes in a photo shoot for Wellington on a Plate 2010

The atmosphere is casual if a little chaotic, although everyone seems happy to relax and join in the fun. Many of the staff are working together for the first time, and the kitchen is foreign to everyone. Tonight they are almost at capacity with 188 guests booked, a herculean feat given that this concept was only floated six months ago.

Diners beneath a photo of Wellington by night

Diners sit at communal tables below a huge print of Wellington by night. If you squint a little, you could almost convince yourself you were looking out a window onto Wellington Harbour.

No amount of detail has been spared in adding as many touches of Wellington throughout the restaurant. There are cookbooks by the door, a table groaning with bars of Whittaker's Chocolates and even little tiki pendants hanging from elegant water bottles on the shelves above the coffee machine. The mirror in the hallway is festooned with postcards and photos of everyday Wellington life, and in the bathroom you'll even find the liquid soap has been brought over from across the ditch.

Diners in the front dining room

Diners share a tasting plate for entree, then choose their own main. A set dessert and tea/coffee with chocolates is also included. Three courses costs $29 with wines priced at $7 per glass.

I'm dining with Suze and D, and between us we try the Giesen Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2008, The Doctor's Riseling Marlborough 2009 and the Giesen Marlborough Pinot Noir 2008.

Shared tasting plate:
  • Crispy West Coast New Zealand white bait;
  • Lot Eight spiced olives;
  • venison rillettes with spiced pear and watercress;
  • fried goat's cheese balls with Manuka honey and kiwi chutney;
  • and citrus-cured Regal King Salmon gravlax with New Zealand wasabi panna cotta

Snapper fillet with Cloudy Bay Diamond Clams,
baby peas, fennel, crayfish butter and chervil

With Jacob Brown at the helm, I find a few similar dishes to the ones we'd sampled at the original pop-up in Wellington.

Vension Wellington
Venison short loin in puff pastry
with portobello mushrooms, smoked bacon, sage and peppercorn sauce

Making the bombe Alaska

Whittaker's chocolate and Mojo coffee praline bomb Alaska with raspberry consomme

The bombe Alaska is a new addition, a surprise combination of rich chocolate and coffee gelato smothered in a flambed meringue that tastes intriguingly salty.

Keen to try the WLG Wellington pop-up restaurant yourself? Then enter the Freebie Friday competition to WIN DINNER FOR TWO here. Entries will also be accepted by Facebook. Entries close this Thursday (tomorrow).

The WLG pop-up restaurant is fully booked however a limited number of walk-ins places have been allocated for each night, Tuesday 14 to Sunday 26 September 2010. These will be allocated on a first come first served basis. Dinner service starts each night at 6pm and costs $29 per person for three courses. More info at Time Out Sydney and the WLG Facebook group.

Otherwise sit back at relax at the WLG wine bar which will be serving New Zealand wines and cheese for $15 per person. No bookings are required for the wine bar. The wine bar is open from 5pm weekdays, and from 3pm on Saturday and Sunday.

View Larger Map
'WLG' Pop Up Restaurant on Urbanspoon

WLG Wellington Pop-Up Restaurant
Location: 32 Bayswater Road, Kings Cross
Open from Tuesday 14 to Sunday 26 September (closed Mondays)

Grab Your Fork dined at the Wellington pop-up restaurant as a guest of Positively Wellington Tourism

Related Grab Your Fork posts:
Wellington on a Plate 2010 - Boulcott Street Bistro
Wellington on a Plate 2010 - Devour Gala Dinner
Wellington on a Plate 2010 - Fidel's Cafe
Wellington on a Plate 2010 - Logan Brown
Wellington on a Plate 2010 - Matterhorn
Wellington on a Plate 2010 - Osteria Del Toro
Wellington on a Plate 2010 - Petone Food Tour
Wellington on a Plate 2010 - Te Papa Museum
Wellington on a Plate 2010 - Wellington Pop-Up Restaurant
Wellington on a Plate 2010 - Wellington Pop-Up Restaurant in Sydney

14 comments - Add some comment love

posted by Helen (Grab Your Fork) on 9/15/2010 02:38:00 am


  • At 9/15/2010 9:26 am, Blogger joey@forkingaroundsydney said…

    Wow, that didn't take long for the first post to pop up! LOL.

    That venison wellington looks interesting. Yum.

  • At 9/15/2010 9:40 am, Anonymous billy@a table for two said…

    Interesting twist to a classic "Beef Wellington". :)

    Aww... what a lovely couple. That poster of the wellington night scene really looks like you are dining in the city itself!

  • At 9/15/2010 10:51 am, Anonymous Andrea (So D'lish) said…

    Looks like WLG is off to a rip-roaring start! Great post and beaut pics as always Helen :)

  • At 9/15/2010 11:20 am, Blogger Unknown said…

    That Alaskan bomb looks delish! And that white bait has me salivating. Totally forgot this pop-up restaurant was happening - looks like I'll have to book this baby asap. Lovely write-up + photography Helen!

  • At 9/15/2010 11:56 am, Anonymous Tina said…

    I thought I saw Sean Connolly in the distance...! Good to know I;m not going crazy.
    Hope you enjoyed the night and the bombe Alaska as much as I did :)

  • At 9/15/2010 12:40 pm, Blogger Sara @ Belly Rumbles said…

    Yum, can't wait to go on Saturday!! Thanks for sharing Helen, now I know what is install.

  • At 9/15/2010 1:09 pm, Anonymous Hannah said…

    Aww, Sean Connelly and Jacob Brown look so happy! (And I thought that even before reading the comment about their seeming-coupledom :P) Coffee ice cream and strangely-salty meringue? I'm in.

  • At 9/15/2010 3:40 pm, Blogger Monica ^o^ said…

    they looked delicious ! Thanks for sharing Helen, now I have an idea on what we'll be having when we go there on the 25th !! ^_^

  • At 9/15/2010 4:45 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Oohh what a great recount of the night!! Drooling over the food mmm

  • At 9/15/2010 11:51 pm, Anonymous Jacq said…

    The food looks great and it's such great value as well! I'm so bummed I didn't get to book tickets to this but I'm hoping that I'll be able to get a seat if I rock up early!

  • At 9/16/2010 11:38 am, Anonymous Forager @ The Gourmet Forager said…

    Looks delicious! I'm heading there tonight - wonder how Shaun Clouston's menu will differ? Hope there's venison - yours looked fantastic!

  • At 9/19/2010 8:28 pm, Anonymous Elaine @ Three Wise Pigs said…

    That bomb alaska looked so amazing - pity I missed out on that dessert last night :/

  • At 9/19/2010 9:19 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Great blog, I saw Tetsuyas doco and he seemed like a really nice guy! Venison....hmmmmmm... (drool). Yummo.

  • At 9/29/2010 11:05 pm, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Thanks guys and hope that everyone enjoyed their little taste of Wellington in downtown Sydney.


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