When you occupy a prominent street corner in a hotel that’s been voted by Conde Nast the best in Australasia, the pressure to deliver food that lives up to its surroundings is well and truly on. Petition Kitchen, the shared-plate dining alternative to Wildflower, its hallowed sister restaurant in the State Buildings, handles it all with casual aplomb.
Waiters wear faded jeans, bistro tables are close enough to hear your neighbours’ conversations – it’s all very buzzy and cosmopolitan.
Chef Jesse Blake may be cooking in a smartly casual venue, but he is a serious young chef. His food has very quickly grown in stature and Petition Kitchen has become a business lunch and brekky meeting venue for all and sundry.
Blake’s chopped broccoli salad with toasted grains, walnuts and sheep’s feta was the talk of town when he released his first menu in 2016. And what’s not to like. It is a superbly balanced, textural, flavour-packed dish which would turn the most carnivorous among us into card-carrying vegetarians.
All his dishes have a stripped back, rustic elegance. Torched salmon fillet with burnt onion broth, oyster mushroom and green onion oil is as delightful as it sounds. It’s simple, but not simplistic. A stunner. Ditto the duck liver parfait with verjus, pickled rhubarb and sumac.
Petition Kitchen is also dangerously close to Petition Beer Corner, a convenient 20 second stroll away, and the perfect place for beer lovers.