There’s plenty of posh nosh in Paddo, from the Fish Monger, Saint Peter to Freds and Four in hand. What it’s lacked is street swagger and Asian smarts or perhaps a restaurant which suggests your Kardashian butt exercises are not yet paying off – say hello to Chubby Cheeks.
This fantastic addition to Oxford street is thanks to Songpol and Lyn Manoonpong who gained their hospitality legs with Mona Vale’s Armchair collective. Designers Guru Projects have reinvented the old Max Brenner shop with ragged concrete exposed walls, brick parquetry floors, metal screens and a mix of seating from Thai bolster sofas to banquets and intimate tables towards the back by a stunning bar.
As you progress through the menu you may have flavour flashbacks to Red Lantern (Chef Em Meechai) or wonder why each dish is flawless in technical execution (Exec Chef David Cleasson, Glass Brasserie). This is fabulous cooking without the fine dining price tag, but every mouthful is worthy of it.
With a share menu degustation of $49 they have been generous to fill it with their signature dishes. Start with juicy Hokkaido scallops on a betel leaf it’s a pop of lemongrass, toasted coconut and cashews. Soft bao buns stuffed with pork and crackling is light as feather but with all the fireworks of pop and crunch. A delicate banana blossom salad is perfectly balanced with a tamari chilli lime dressing with hidden luscious slithers of aromatic tea smoked duck breast. Deep fried strings of sweet potato entangle tiger prawns just begging to be scooped up with lettuce leaves, crispy basil and drizzled in nam jhim. Attentive service brings a bowl of water and lemon to cleanse sticky fingers. Add a pork and prawn Vietnamese style crepe and then head into mains of master stock free range chicken with a delicate house made satay sauce, two fish fillets flash fried with pandan rice flakes are accompanied by water spinach in oyster sauce. Don’t miss the mushroom fried rice and if you can bare to share then go crazy with a perfect sphere of deep fried ice-cream.
The cocktail menu is short but fun with a salted caramel old fashioned so good we order it twice! Whether you start with a Prosecco of opt for a Tiger beer, there’s plenty to choose from.
Inspired by Thailand, it firmly edges towards Vietnam in style with clean, delicate flavours that leave you feeling anything but chubby, we would say our cheeks left positively uplifted!
437 Oxford Street, Paddington
Tues – Thurs 5:30pm-10pm
Fri – Sun: 12pm-3pm & 5:30pm-10pm