In the heart of Kew Junction, a century old post office has been given a new lease on life. While the building has stood solidly since 1888, it wasn’t until 1995 that the decision was made to transform the imposing community hub into a bustling restaurant – QPO.
In the late 90’s QPO was a favourite watering-hole for Kew locals, but as the times have changed, so has QPO. The venue is now a popular restaurant and cafe serving up modern Australian cuisine – with a few pub favourites still on the menu to pay homage to its roots.
QPO is currently in the hands of brothers Tony and Michael. Michael found his start in hospitality at a young age, working in the kitchen at Fiorelli, an eastern suburbs’ institution. He soon found his little brother, Tony, a front of house position. Supported by their old boss, they headed out in search of a unique venue to realise their dream of running their own restaurant.
Heading up the kitchen is Ryan Byrne. The two brothers have known Ryan since he was an apprentice chef, however, he spent several years travelling the globe, completing stints in some of the world’s best kitchens. This included several years honing his skills in the fine dining restaurants of Tokyo including Salt by Luke Mangan, Fish Bank TOKYO, two Michelin-starred Les Créations de Narisawa and Michelin-starred Jean-Georges Tokyo.
It’s therefore no surprise that one of the first things Ryan did upon arriving at QPO was to set up a patisserie kitchen, creating a daily selection of cakes. Depending on the day you may opt for a coconut mousse cake filled passionfruit coulis, or a chocolate dome filled with chocolate and hazelnut ganache.
However, this isn’t the only area where QPO shines. Ryan is assisted in the kitchen by Majid Jreige. Majid is a passionate chef, whose stunning creations have found fame through his Instagram account – where diners can enjoy sneak peeks of his ideas as the menu develops.
Both Ryan and Majid have brought their flair to the recently redesigned brunch offerings. The oat and almond milk porridge is a warming winter option that’s vegan-friendly and topped with blackberry compote, fresh berries and spice-poached pears; while a refreshing option is the mango pannacotta with house-made granola, seasonal fruit and freeze dried raspberries. If you prefer to start your day the savoury way, it’s hard to go past the spiced corn and quinoa fritters with freshly pickled cucumber, avocado, labneh and house-made relish.
Later in the day, you can opt for a refreshing salad. The most popular is the smoked salmon salad with shredded kale, lentils, charred corn, quinoa with a citrus dressing. For a taste of the Meditteranean try the Spanish-inspired calamari salad with kipfler potatoes, grilled chorizo and rocket with a tangy dressing.
For those who are indecisive, the antipasto platter offers a taste of the menu with vegetarian arancini, lightly fried calamari, house-made dip, marinated olives, roasted capsicum, prosciutto, feta and warmed Turkish bread.
More substantial offerings include mushroom risotto with porcini and local mushrooms, wilted rocket, drizzled with balsamic reduction or a traditional spaghetti marinara with white wine sauce. Following the theme of Italian inspired fare is a selection of thin based pizzas where the toppings range from traditional (capriccosa with mushrooms, ham and olives) and comforting (zucchini, roasted capsicum, mushrooms, olives and feta), to fresh and modern (prosciutto and pear with creamy brie, chili, rocket and a drizzle of honey).
To finish your meal on a sweet note opt for a selection from the cake display, or try the tonka bean panna cotta with fresh honeycomb, raspberry coulis and fresh berries.
The stunning century-old building isn’t just home to a cafe and restaurant. The old post-master’s quarters and mail sorting rooms have also been transformed into private event spaces. Here the building’s Victorian origins are on show with original marble fireplaces and elaborate cornices. QPO’s two rooms are suitable for everything from wedding receptions, engagement parties and high tea, to christenings and birthdays, to corporate conferences and events
Breakfast, lunch and dinner are served 7 days a week – except for Christmas where you can still find a table for QPO’s famous Christmas lunch. Whether you’re after a quick bite to eat, some coffee and cake or an elaborate event with 100 friends, QPO has the recipe for success.