SYDNEY | Bentley Group has a habit of kicking goals with their venues. When they announce a new one, expectation are high. King Clarence, which opened in December last year, is the newest venue in the group’s stable and is headed up by executive chef Khanh Nguyen. As if expectations weren’t high enough already.
The space is bright, and colourful, industrial and fun. Add a DJ spinning loud dance and electro beats, and you’ve got a venue that’s popping with energy. On one side of the airy dining room you’ll find the bar, and on the other side the kitchen, which eschews the modern trend for open kitchens (although you can peep in on the action from the enclosed side wall).
Sydney-born and raised Nguyen spent years cooking in the kitchens of Bentley Group’s restaurants before moving to Melbourne and taking things to the next level as head chef at Sunda and ARU. The food is reminiscent of Sunda’s fun and freewheeling early days, influenced by Nguyen’s lockdown experiments and creations, and techniques refined at Aru.
Similarly to Sunda and ARU, King Clarence is a modern Australian restaurant with South East Asian influences. Unlike the former two which leant strongly towards Indonesian flavours, King Clarence looks to Korea, Japan, and China for inspiration.
Dishes are fun and exciting, with bold flavours and interesting twists. It’s a menu that lends itself well to individual snacking and sharing. There’s things like the signature fish finger bao with mustard greens, American cheese, pickled chilli, and salmon roe; pork and prawn dumplings with black vinegar and chilli oil infused with 14 spices; and cold, springy buckwheat noodles with enoki, shredded potato, and native pepper in spring onion oil.
For larger plates, the Angus beef short rib with chickpea miso, horseradish oroshi, and sweet soy is a must try. So to, the short grain claypot rice with char sui pork jowl, garlic chive, and egg yolk. For dessert, go for the mango pudding with coconut, cultured cream, vanilla bean, and passionfruit.
The wine list is varied in style and price, with many options available by the glass. House cocktails are fun, taking the same pan-Asian inspiration as the food.
171 Clarence Street
New South Wales 2000
Sun – Wed: 12:00pm to 9:30pm
Thu: 12:00pm to 10:30pm
Fri – Sat: 12:00pm to 10:00pm