The European opened its doors in Kingston on Tuesday, replacing Artespresso. I was greeted warmly and had my pick of tables. I was also immediately asked if I’d like a coffee to start with. Tick.
The inside has a slight rustic and raw feel with wooden floorboards and benchtops, black and white tiles, a mix of stools, black tables and chairs, padded banquette seating lining the walls, and metal sheets on the ceilings with cement beams showing through. The open kitchen means you can peek in and watch the chefs cooking up a storm. One end is lined with bottles of wine.
The use of a shelf filled with lanterns and books creates a privacy screen for the other half of the room while allowing the whole restaurant to remain open.
Looking at the brunch menu (served from 8am-2.30pm), I counted 10 breakfast items which is great if you have trouble deciding what to have. I would have preferred a bit more variety. From noon to 2.30pm there is a bit more choice.
My soy mocha ($4.50) arrived. A nice amount of melted chocolate lay at the bottom which I stirred to mix in with the coffee. Really happy with it and there was more chocolate than coffee!
I decided to go with a classic – eggs benedict with ham ($16). The vegetarian alternative is with spinach. Two poached eggs smothered in hollandaise sauce, on top of sliced ham all sitting on a thick piece of buttered toast from Autolyse. How good is the bread?! There was a slight taste of vinegar from the poached eggs. I was happy with this simple classic dish and love that they serve bread from Autolyse. I don’t think the meal would have been as good with any other bread. An average sized portion that filled me up without leaving that ‘too full my stomach hurts’ feeling.
The young wait staff seem to still be in training which is fine considering it only opened up a few days ago. While there, I took the opportunity to look at the dinner menu. Menus are printed on large brown butcher’s paper. Looks like they’re pushing the small plate/tapas sharing concept ($5-$22) as there are only 4 large plate (main sized) options ($31-$34). Small plates include a charcuterie platter, spiced mushrooms, mixed olives, salt cod, duck neck sausage, confit chicken wings, cured salmon and more.
They also have larger plate options to share with a minimum of 3 people at $30 per person – either the 12 hour braised beef short rib or 7 hr braised lamb shoulder that comes served with potato mash, mushy peas, pan juices and leaf salad. Side dishes are $9 each and desserts are $15 or $22 for a cheese platter. Seems a little pricey.
Things to note – Sundays and public holidays have a 10% surcharge. Visa and Mastercard have a 1.5% surcharge and Amex 3%. There is also $5 BYO corkage per person.
The European is located at 31 Giles Street in Kingston. Open for lunch Tuesday to Friday noon- 2.30pm, dinner Tuesday to Saturday from 6pm, and brunch all weekend 8am-2.30pm. Phone: 02 6295 1515.
While on the topic of Kingston, I walked past Penny University, another cafe to open up – looks like it will open very soon – the tables and chairs are in, assortment of crates and stools to sit on are outside, and the front counter is up. Just a few finishing touches to go.