Wilbur’s Place

My friends sometimes ask how I can afford to eat out as much as I do since it appears like every meal’s a hatted multi-course magic ride into the culinary clouds (okay those are my words not theirs) and the creative profession is rarely a well-paid one. The thing is there’s no secret oil tycoon fiance; sometimes good things come in cheap packages, you just have to know where to find them.

Latte $3.30

Wilbur’s place sounds like a jolly place to chill out with your porcine host but in actuality is a new little eatery from the guys at Bourke Street Bakery. The other up side is the prices seem to be from the 90’s with the most expensive item a dinner plate of duck leg, roasted plums with vino cotto which would still return you a gold coin’s change from a 20 note.

This concept seems to hit all angles of the magical triangle (good, fast, cheap) and I’m so keen to visit I blab on about this place for weeks. Upon their reopening for the new year, three of us rock up for a long lunch at this alleyway digs.

Seranno ham, grapefruit and fennel salad $12

We settle in with some coffees on the outdoor table and start with the Serrano ham, grapefruit and fennel salad. The combination sounded intriguing and light: the ham and grapefruit added nice touches of salt and bitterness to the salad. Strangely though the fennel was limp and quite sugary and acidic.

Cappucino $3.30

Complimentary Duck liver parfait, toast & cornichons (Normally $12)

Our lovable waiter Ben approaches us with a surprise: a complimentary dish of duck liver parfait for us to nibble on, it’s buttery smooth and we pull sad faces when we run out of brioche.

White anchovy, cucumber, celery, croutons $12

White anchovy, cucumber, celery, croutons was our second choice: another interesting combination. Sadly this too tasted overwhelmingly like apple vinegar and we asked Ben to check for us. He returns and advises the kitchen only adds salt, pepper, olive oil and a squeeze of lemon to the salad but there’s no fresh lemon zing and the sugary limpness of the celery betrays an overwhelming acidic taste. Cathy notes the kitchen may have pre-dressed the celery and fennel in apple vinegar in the morning and accidentally macerated the vegetables resulting in an overpowering sweetness.

Porchetta plate, white beans and bread $14

I’ve been looking forward to the porchetta plate for quite some time, which time-poor locals can get in a roll for only $8 a pop. We food tourists though have all the time to languish in the sun and slowly devour the pork with beans and sourdough. The meat is quite tender and doused with rosemary, with a streak of fat running through, on a bed of jus which we mop up. Midway through Cathy pulled a piece of trussing string from her portion and we’re also disappointed to note that the beans haven’t been cooked enough and are quite hard on the inside; the jus itself was also a bit sticky from being over-reduced.

We manage to finish most of our food though and remain optimistic about dessert. The ice cream for the brioche sandwich is made by the staff and the sound of a meringue covered flourless chocolate sponge seems intriguing but Ben tells us his absolute favourite is the custard tart. We’re still wondering what to order when he arrives with the tart in question and places it before us.

Complimentary Custard tart (Normally $12)

We dig in and sigh over the delectably smooth custard blanketed with a generous amount of nutmeg. Dessert’s over in seconds and we each leave having spent well under $20 each. We wave goodbye to Ben and Paul and waddle off down the alleyway: our hip pockets barely lightened but stomachs well full.

The Verdict
Have you ever bumped into two siblings* and noticed one got a lot luckier with the gene pool lotto? The Bourke Street crew have baking down pat and the menu at their new sister restaurant is simple but imaginative, so it’s quite sad to see poor execution letting everyone down. The service is affable and the prices are very kind to all and sundry; I’ve just got my fingers crossed that the kitchen simply has the start-up jitters and will soon develop into a well-oiled machine by the time I return for that duck and perhaps some ocean trout fingers.

*This is a metaphor and is not in reference to any persons living or dead.

Wilbur’s Place
a. 36 Llankelly Place, Kings Cross
t. 9332 2999
e. info(at)wilbursplace.com
w. www.wilbursplace.com

Wilbur's Place on Urbanspoon

  1. Chris said:

    ZOMG Charlotte’s Web reference

    • Dee said:

      What? Where? OMGGGGGGGGGGGG :O

  2. jbjose said:

    “gene pool was distributed unevenly”

    Ouch. That’s cold 🙂

    • Dee said:

      :3 #unfortunateTruthsofLife ?

  3. What a great find – never even heard of this place. I’m confident that the kitchen is just finding their feet – happens a lot with new places doesn’t it? Such a great location.

    • Dee said:

      I can’t claim to be the Sherlock in this instance, I saw it posted first on Lee Ann Tran’s blog 😛
      I really really really wanted to love this place so I guess the disappointment was even greater. I’m hoping it’s like you’ve said Miss Piggy.

  4. Looks promising! Mmmm..pate…and complimentary too! Harsh comment about gene pool lol

    • Dee said:

      Yeah I wanted the pate but Cathy was all “we just had it last week!” haha >.> lucky we got gifted this 🙂
      Is the gene pool thing that harsh? Starting to fee a bit bad now…

    • Dee said:

      Thanks Lau! It was pretty perfect in my stomach too 😀

  5. joboi said:

    oh the pictures the picturesssssssss

    • Dee said:

      lol thanks dude

  6. Oh it looks great, as do the prices. Shame about the few issues but maybe takeaway IS more their thing… Nothing worse than soggy fennel…

    • Dee said:

      Maybe take away is better I dunno, it’s a pretty nice spot though in that laneway with all the other cafes nearby. Haha soggy fennel #firstworldproblems 😛

  7. I’m impressed that this once very skanky lane way has been cleaned up and turned into something very worthy. I reckon they’re on the right track

    • Dee said:

      Was it skanky? It’s so lovely now, full of al fresco dining areas throughout and they’ve even got a hole in the wall cafe serving cold drip coffee. Skank > swank.

  8. What great prices. Pity about some of the execution. Hopefully it improves in time. Big fan of bourke street bakery, better check this out. Didn’t realise it existed until reading about in the SMH today.

    P.S Lovely meeting you at the meet!

    • Dee said:

      Oh didn’t realise SMH did a writeup. Yeah I had MASSIVE expectations because of BSB so maybe that added to the disappointment, it’s still a very sweet place and worth checking out. Great meeting you too 🙂

  9. Sara said:

    HARSH! So happy to have this little gem in the area. I think they have definitely found their feet. I’ve had an amazing dinner there, and just had takeaway lunch and it was divine. Two thumbs up!!

    • Dee said:

      Hey Sarah, it’s actually really hard being mean 😦 because you get less flack when you’re unfailingly positive. I wanted very much to love this place and I still encourage my friends to visit, but I had to be frank and ordering a hot dish for it arrive 1. cold 2. with a piece of string in the meat 3. undercooked/soaked dry beans 4. cold over reduced sauce is hard to ignore. I still think the concept is a great idea and they seem to have improved over the past month 🙂

  10. Lindy said:

    I hate to sign up for the sole reason of leaving a negative comment, but I was a bit shocked to read your remark about the brothers’ gene pool. It’s one thing to comment on general atmosphere, type of clientele etc, as well as the food, but to single out and identify an individual about their looks for no good reason seems a bit unpleasant and unnecessary. I would be cut if that had been written about me.

    • Dee said:

      Hi Lindy! Thanks for signing up to comment it’s always great when people feel strongly about something enough to speak out. However, I’d like to make it clear that my ‘gene pool’ reference was in regards to Wilbur’s Place being a sister restaurant to Bourke St Bakery since they’re both established by the same guys. As far as I know BSB has been started up by two guys who are great friends and no one is actually related so it was never my intention to reference an actual person, it was simply a metaphor. I’ve reworded the sentence better to clear up any misunderstandings. Cheers!

      • Lindy said:

        Well, I don’t think I’ve ever gone from quiet outrage to quiet embarrassment quite so quickly! Thanks for clearing that up Dee, now I can continue to read your blog with a sunnier attitude… although I may consider a name change for any future posts!

      • Dee said:

        Haha it’s alllllll good Lindy 🙂

  11. Gemma said:

    We went on Tuesday night just gone… so … makes it the 6th of March 2012…. Everything was perfect… On time, perfectly executed…. just a note… BYO is $8 and they don’t have a grog list so do make sure you bring your own… Must have found their feet by now…

    • Dee said:

      Hey Gemma, thanks so much for keeping me updated. I’ve seen so many photos and happy posts about the duck and ice cream sandwiches so I’m pretty keen to give it another go. Also thanks for the photo love, so sweet! 😀

  12. Gemma said:

    PS – Forgot to add just how much I LOVE your photos.

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