NOTA energises Paddington’s dining scene with hearty and rustic fare
It is universally known that, put quite simply, teamwork makes the dream work. When it comes to the buzzing environment of a restaurant kitchen, this is especially true – too many cooks only spoil the broth when they’re not on the same page. Paddington’s newest hotspot is the result of two kindred culinary spirits bringing together their ideas and techniques to realise a singular vision. NOTA is opening this Friday March 8 and from what we’ve seen so far, we predict a harmonious union of ideas, flavours and textures.
The friendship between NOTA’s Sebastiaan de Kort (The Cheese Pleaser) and Kevin Docherty extends back to their time at Moda, where the two budding chefs manned the pans under Javier Codina. The duo clicked over a similar mentality and approach to food, and though they were skilled at different styles of cooking, both were on the same page when it came to culinary ethos – familiar, honest and hearty food is king. After departing Moda, both chefs assisted the other across various catering jobs and it was here that they had the freedom to experiment and collaborate on dishes. Unshackled from limitations and revelling in this newfound creative synergy, Sebastiaan and Kevin decided to take the partnership one step further and open up a restaurant where they could deliver their ideas to the greater public. NOTA is the result of this union – a warm and welcoming restaurant in the heart of Paddington. Imbued with fine-dining elements, NOTA leans more towards providing an uncomplicated atmosphere and experience, as well as a menu sprinkled with a liberal dose of familiarity and rustic robustness.
Those familiar with Paddington’s Given Terrace strip might recognise the space as the former home of iconic restaurant Montrachet. Since Montrachet’s departure to Bowen Hills, the venue housed short-lived eatery Margo and has stood empty since its closure in May 2018. Sebastian and Kevin weren’t fazed by the venue’s storied reputation and lineage, but were enamoured with the bones of the space and what it could offer for NOTA. When it came to the decor, the duo enacted an aesthetic pivot, removing the familiar red-leather furnishings in favour of a palette of neutral tones. Black, white, tan and brass enhance the venue’s exposed brickwork and existing bar, creating an easy-going elegance and that also perfectly complements the food.
The food and drink
NOTA’s menu is a culmination of Sebastiaan and Kevin’s early experimentation, with a concise list of dishes conceived in catering kitchens making it all the way to NOTA’s tables. Sebastiaan and Kevin have liaised with reliable growers to source a tremendous array of produce, parlaying rustic ingredients into a selection of heart-warming dishes designed to share. The duo has nailed down a menu that runs 21 dishes deep, starting with tasty snacks and progressing through fish, meat and vegetable-based dishes plus a selection of desserts to close. Colour and flavour are available in abundance, with hero dishes including the tempura-fish sandwich, savoury churro with Ortiz anchovies, slow-cooked octopus, Brisbane Valley quail with sweetcorn polenta, and the warm dessert crumble with vanilla anglaise standing as a testament to the duo’s vision. As for the drinks, NOTA serves a balanced range of wines, mixing styles to cater for various tastes. Older styles share menu space with modern pet-nats, and a similar approach has been applied to the cocktail list, which features classics and a selection of NOTA signatures. Matt Kirkegaard has consulted with Sebastiaan and Kevin on the beer list, handpicking a range of brews that pair perfectly with NOTA’s plated fare.
NOTA officially opens to the public on Friday March 8. For contact details and opening hours, head to the Stumble Guide.
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