Tucked away behind Stanley Street in Darlinghurst, once the original underbelly of Sydney and known as the place where anything goes Ñ from illegal gambling houses of old, a sneaky drink during prohibition, the birthplace of the famous âMardi Graså and eventually famed as the original Italian quarter Ñ Food Society keeps true to the legacy as another favoured secret, this time revealing all we ever wanted to know about Eastern European cuisine and the vodkas to match.
Owners and long-time colleagues, Brendan Lloyd and Sonia Stanojevic, worked together for many years in the hospitality and event catering industry in Sydney. Wanting to branch out and offer their own creative vision, they surrounded themselves with like-minded colleagues and together launched Food Society, their own little society of professionals that love food as much as much as making their guests feel at home, and ultimately want to take their guests back in time to old school hospitality.
This little team built Food Society from the ground up together, and have filled the space with vintage knick knacks, mismatched antique chairs, and even sentimental pieces from their homes (and Eastern Europe, of course!). The homely yet eclectic fit out incorporates a range of dining options – from tall benches and stools, to lounge suites and large family tables – you step into a 1950s waiting room, down the red carpet, and into your very own Babushka’s lounge room.
With many accolades to their name, most recently awarded European Restaurant of the Year, dining at Food Society is an absolute must. The bar is stocked with many unique imported European beers, over 75 vodkas and many house-infused variations, while the wine list is very much focused on Australia and New Zealand.
The menu is designed to share, just like at Grandma’s, but is divided up into small plates featuring dishes such as the signature Fried Cauliflower which is tossed with watercress, smoky paprika and dressed in a caramelised red wine vinegar; or larger plates with feasts like the Slow Roasted Berkshire Pork Knuckle which comes with caraway and garlic bean cassoulet and crispy barley. For the sweet-tooth, try the Pashka ice cream, a modern take on an Eastern European staple, served with poached strawberry and macadamia crumble.
Food Society even offers a Vodka High Tea service, on offer every Saturday from 11.30am to 4.30pm, a degustation of tea gastronomy – handmade canapés matched with vodka cocktails and an extensive range of quality single origin teas. Each menu item focuses on using fresh, premium NSW ingredients including pork from Picton, lamb from Junee and fresh produce from Windsor. The Vodka High Tea has become synonymous with celebrations and the perfect relaxed Saturday afternoon.
With so much to discover, Food Society is set to reshape your definition of Eastern European cuisine. From the High Tea, to the variety of vodkas, to the evocative menu you will enjoy your visit to this foreign land, where you will want to join the club – Food Society.