Asian street food gets a modern makeover at Paddington’s Given Kitchen & Bar
Given Terrace is making a comeback. Paddington’s major dining and retail thoroughfare has just welcomed a fresh culinary concept from some established operators – one that specialises in some savvy fusion. Given Kitchen & Bar is a new dining spot bringing together a multitude of Asian cuisines, honouring provenance and tradition yet fusing and modernising their intricacies to create something of its own.
While the hospitality landscape might still be recovering from the hurdles of 2020, resilient operators are continuing to fearlessly improvise and innovate despite the less-than-favourable circumstances. Tuan Nguyen and the crew behind Paddington-based Vietnamese eatery Ngon are looking to contribute to the suburb’s resurgence as a dependable dining strip with Given Kitchen & Bar, a new Asian street-food fusion concept that officially opened to the public in late-January. The young and enterprising operators secured a 12-month lease on a space on Given Terrace for the eatery, which will exist as a year-long pop up. Inspired by previous travels abroad (and conceived partly as a soothing balm for those upset about not being able to use their passport for the foreseeable future), Given is a project that boasts a confluence of inspirations and backgrounds at its core. Many of those involved are adding elements of their own heritage into the culinary mix, blurring the lines between Vietnamese, Thai, Japanese, Filipino and Indonesian cuisines to create a comestible harmony. Tuan and his team have neatened up the site (which is dominated by a cushy banquette that runs the length of the space), installing a new bar, setting up some DJ decks and adding some flair via pieces of decor (colourful photo frames contain images from Tuan’s travels). Despite the minimal outlay, Given feels cosy and welcoming. The space itself is perfectly adaptable for breakfast, lunch and dinner services, which is good, as the Given kitchen is doing all three.
Helming Given’s morning menu is duo Daniel and Mahalia Real who are Given’s daytime chef and manager, respectively. For breakfast, the team is weaving traces of Given’s multi-country mixture across a series of familiar day starters – think bubble-tea panna cotta, ube mochi waffles with toasted-coconut ice-cream, Hangover Fried Rice with pork sausage, fermented-chilli scrambled eggs and karaage-chicken Benny with sriracha hollandaise. Coffee seekers can enjoy a brew from local roaster The Black Lab Coffee Co., which is available alongside a selection of smoothies. As the day progresses, diners might be more inclined to sink their incisors into a banh mi burger (with braised pork belly), tea-smoked salmon and a veggie-loaded Buddha bowl. The dinner crew, helmed by chef Wilhelm Gee and manager Greg Buttars, is responsible for executing Given’s engaging nighttime offering, where boundaries are nudged and a sense of theatre is created. Small plates of grilled corn coated in dukbokki sauce and mozzarella, and sisig san choy bow lead into larger dishes including whole squid with garlic salt and green-chilli sauce, sliced wagyu rump with Vietnamese chimichurri, and chicken Maryland served with brown sauce and aromatic rice. A selection of skewers are Given’s specialty, with pieces of fresh tofu, chicken thigh, wagyu rump, pork shoulder and king tiger prawn cooked over charcoal until sizzling and served on a banana leaf. Given’s easy-to-navigate wine list features drops divided into categories such as fresh, crisp and aromatic, rosé and skin contact, and bold and the beautiful, while the cocktail menu boasts three kinds of spritz, two riffs on the mojito and an assortment of sour and short sips. The back bar is stocked with Australian spirits, while a tight selection of craft beers rounds out Given’s libation list. Adding to the ambience, a rotating roster of DJs will spin everything from obscure Japanese vinyl to recognisable hits.
Given Kitchen & Bar is now open to the public. Hit the Stumble Guide for opening hours.
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