Picture this: a beautiful Sunday afternoon, the sky is clear and blue despite the bitter winter chill… and you are ninety minutes late for a date (true story). You exit the station, your date is sitting in the middle of the square in jeans and a red jumper – no coat. You expect an icy greeting, a stern reprimand, maybe even a cold text saying ‘stuff this I’m gone’, but are instead shocked and relieved that she is still glad to see you, thus proceeding to a beautiful day in the gardens of Kew snapping memories in the name of Instagram.
Then evening approaches and you’re walking towards the station. Hungry. Passing tea and coffee shops, cafés and bakeries – all not quite what you’re looking for.
Luckily (since she’s with someone like me) dinner is already sorted as I guide her to a hidden gem of a brasserie called Antipodea. Why this place? Because both food and girl come from a delicacy that I have not yet explored… Australian.
Aussie owned and Aussie inspired, please don’t expect a room filled with stuffed kangaroos, digeridoos and waiters saying “G’day mate!” You have no idea how wrong these stereotypes are…
What you will find is a very elegant and cosy eatery where booking is advised. You’ll find a day and night menu to choose from – making timing key to your visit. You’ll find the waiters here to be some of the friendliest you’ll ever meet – one in particular who’s name I have sadly forgotten. You’ll also find the food here quite diverse, catering to all taste buds. What you won’t find, however, are dishes that actually come from Australia (wait, what?!).
But calm your farm! Aussie cooking is known to embrace other cultures, so technically it’s all bonzer.
First to be ordered was the asparagus quiche, and the adjectives that sprung to mind at first sight were: tiny and green. Seriously, it was tiny but good things can come in small packages as the sensational flavour of asparagus was bursting beautifully in this vivid veggie concoction – too bad we had to share.
Then came the main and sides, a buttermilk fried chicken burger with chips, slaw and sriracha mayonnaise for the lady. Burger was a good standard, chips were well cooked and the sriracha – divine. What followed was the polenta fries, which I felt needed seasoning to continue my initial excitement, the side of aioli surprisingly didn’t help much, but the sriracha mayonnaise did. Finally was my Barramundi fillet, the Aussie of the menu, and the one I was most intrigued about – because I do like a beefy looking fish. The taste was not exactly unique or outstanding (though paired well with the sauce) but the texture and appearance of the fish was rather beautiful. The zucchini, mint and pistachio nuts gave the fish a fresh and herbal edge but felt unnecessary.
We fancied a dessert to end the meal on a sweet note and was going to try the chocolate soufflé with Persian pashak – clearly the popular choice as they were sold out. So we settled for the New York cheesecake, which was far beyond good, I would go back just for that.
Overall this restaurant had its subtle specialities: the stylish ambience, the sexy fireplace and the friendly service being some of the high points. Although the Australian aspect was the main reason for going, I do hope to actually see more native dishes added to the menu in future. The main thing is we enjoyed ourselves, the date was successful and we would most likely come back next time we are in Kew.