When I first heard that a new restaurant was slated to open in Newcastle by a former Australia’s Lexus Young Chef of the Year winner, who spent his formative years training under Tetsuya Wakuda, Guillaume Brahimi and Warren Turnbull at Assiette, my ears pricked up. That’s some pretty solid credentials.
Several things intrigued me about this news. Firstly, what did the name of the yet-to-be-opened restaurant, Subo, mean? Secondly, why was it opening in Newcastle? Thirdly, what was the menu going to look like?
Once I tracked down Head Chef and Owner, Beau Vincent, I discovered he was only one-half of the Subo equation. Suzie Pollack-Vincent, (the ’Su’ in Subo) once an apprentice chef under Beau’s supervision, also racks up some impressive experience in the kitchen with stints at Guillaume at Bennelong where she and Beau first met, to Claude’s. At Subo, co-owner Suzie will be moving from behind the pass to manage the front of house.
Beau and Suzie made the decision to set up their first restaurant venture in Newcastle believing “there is more opportunity in the restaurant game than in Sydney or Melbourne”. Well, there’s certainly a gamut of possible venues available.
Intriguingly, they have chosen a location known more for its boarded-up shop fronts than bistro-style restaurants. But like other parts of Newcastle that have laid empty since the earthquake of 1989, Hunter Street is undergoing a slow but significant renaissance with old hoardings being replaced by new businesses breathing renewed life into this once historically bustling artery of the CBD. For the Vincents it is an act of confidence in the future of Newcastle. One that makes me supremely happy.
Their hope is to offer “a friendly and relaxed style of dining that is fun”, says Suzie. When I ask about influences, Le Chateaubriand, is mentioned, a popular Parisian restaurant championing ‘Bistronomy’, otherwise known as affordable, creative, modern food.
Whilst the site of the restaurant undergoes major renovation, Beau and Suzie have been hard at work in their kitchen garden; planting herbs, vegetables and edible flowers that will make an appearance in some of the dishes they have developed for their first menu.
Offerings such as pickled cucumber salad with fresh house made ricotta, black olives and oil, radish, borage, dill and toasted sourdough crumbs or crispy skin mulloway with spring lettuce, jamon serrano, young garlic puree and kipfler potatoes.
I have made a reservation for Dean’s birthday and will be sure to report back. Like its location and owners, I’m expecting a restaurant that is surprising, delightful and heartfelt.
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