Monday, 8 November 2010

Art & Restuarant Review: Lennox St Studios and Soffritto, Newtown

 Last Thursday evening I was invited to the opening night of an exhibition at the Lennox St Studios in Newtown. My running friend Jennie is one of the artists in the converted school which is now a commune housing around thirty artists studios.

It was fun to spend an hour or so looking around each of the studios. The open studio is a good way to see thirty different styles in a compact and relaxed way. I also thought the prices were pretty good, with most of the art work under $1,000. I didn't buy anything, but my friend Oliver bought four of the pictures you can see above from Anna Fraser. A fun serious of small paintings each containing a story about relationship dramas.

After looking round the studio we were ready to find some food. Newtown has such a confusing array of restaurants it's difficult to know where to choose. Remembering a review of Soffritto by my good friend Cookbook Manic we decided to check out the 'contemporary European' aka Italian joint.

The restaurant has a lovely ambiance, feeling a bit smarter than your average Newtown joint. The waiting staff are also more polished than I've experienced in virtually all of the mid-range restaurants I've been to in Sydney. We also had our food served on hot plates, a little touch so many places miss. I like it.

On discovering it was our first visit, our waitress guided us towards ordering a starter of the duck tortellini with sage to share. The tortellini looked awesome and they had a lovely flavour with the salty parmesan, sage butter sauce and not-too-rich duck inside. I'll admit I didn't quite get all of the flavours, there was something inside the tortellini with the duck I couldn't place.

For the main course my fellow dinners went for the paella, which you can either have served in individual portions or in a large pan (which they opted for) to share. I only snuck a small taste, but it looked good with the mussels, prawns and chicken popping out of the saffron rice.

I opted for the pumpkin, gorgonzola and walnut risotto. The risotto was perfectly cooked and creamy. Every forkful either had some of the wonderful pumpkin or gorgonzola.

There was a little bit of intrigue during the night as one of the waiters calmly walked out of the restaurant wearing his jacket mid service. He was soon followed out of the door by our waitress walking briskly. They spoke on the pavement outside for a few minutes before our waitress returned and was very composed as she took our order for more wine. There was clearly some discord going on in the kitchen, but the professionalism of the staff never dropped.


  1. Would definately like to give this place a go... when I don't know. So many places to eat, so little time! That's if you can tear me away from the kitchen. The paella looks so good and the risotto even better! I'm hungry now.

  2. I went to the Lennox studios opening a couple of weeks ago and loved it. The works I loved most were by the Mexican painter, Sergio Plata --such beautiful and vibrant colours and powerful images.
    Congratulations to all the artists.