Shuk and Salt Meats Cheese owners launch new Gateway Sydney venue [gallery]

05 December, 2016 by
Danielle Bowling

Popina Kitchen has launched at the new hospitality dining precinct, Gateway Sydney in Circular Quay.

The Middle Eastern and Mediterranean-inspired restaurant is a collaboration between the owners of North Bondi eatery, Shuk, and Italian provedore and restaurant group, Salt Meats Cheese.

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The 280sqm space, designed by Shuk and Popina Kitchen co-owner Erez Beker, includes a rotating pizza oven on entry, a 180 bottle wine wall and seating for 120.

Executive chef and director of Popina Kitchen, German Sanchez has created a menu with notable culinary influences from his time at Shuk, his Italo-Argentini ancestry and more than seven years working throughout Italy. With the menu split into mezze, mains and pizzas, the restaurant is focused on ‘fun dining’ and fine dining, drawing on Italian, Turkish, Lebanese, Israeli and Argentinian influences.

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The mezze section includes Argentinian beef empanadas; coconut yoghurt labne with beetroot, balsamic vinegar and crackers; and yellowfin tuna with kibbeh nayyeh, watermelon, black lime and mint. Mains include ravioli di ricotta with lamb back-strap, pistachio crust, mint and jus; and snapper with bortolli beans, ceviche salsa and heirloom tomatoes.

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The pizza menu includes Italian favourites such as Diavola (hot salami, sujuk, mozzarella on a tomato base) and Buffalo (Buffalo mozzarella, basil on a tomato base) as well as some more Mediterranean inspired creations like the Green Tahini (dried Kalamata olives, parsley, lemon olive oil on a tahini base), Lamb Kofta (with mozzarella, eggplant and parsley on a tomato base) and Prawn (with zucchini, ricotta, cherry tomatoes, zhoug, sumac on a white base).

The wine list has been designed by consultant Andrew Jamieson and features a number of old and new world wines by the bottle with a focus on Italian, Argentinian and Australian.

Bar manager Hamish Dowie (Palmer & Co., Ananas) has created a cocktail list peppered with ingredients and influences from the food menu. The list includes the Mediterranean Garden (olive-infused Beefeater gin, rosemary, thyme, bitters); The Italian Nod (Absolut Elyx vodka, Amaro, pineapple, raspberry) and The Highlands of Aegea (Chivas 12, apricot brandy, lemon, orgeat). The bar also offers a collection of vermouths, aperitifs and digestifs.

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