Chippendale's warehouse-chic bar and nightclub Freda's is unveiling its newest food offering. Less than five months after opening its New York/Italian–inspired slice spot at the bar, Moon Pizza has announced it's throwing in the towel off to pursue other things. So, who will provide the food after a sweaty round of dancing?
The bar's new food collaborator is called Cheesy Grin and it sounds like it will be a more than adequate replacement. It has previously popped-up at Grifter Brewing Co. and The Midnight Special, but will take up an extended residency at the Chippendale favourite starting on January 31. Chef Wesley Jones is at the helm and will serve up a well-rounded snack menu divided into four sections: ocean, landscape, sweet and salumi. And it has a strong selection of toasties.
The 'ocean' section is inspired by Jones's upbringing on the south coast. Expect oysters — el natural or topped with nasturtium granita — and kingfish crudo, while under 'landscape' you'll find leafy green salads with herbs, flowers and veggies. The 'salumi' will include smaller nibbles, such as candied walnuts, beet pickles, stracciatella, roasted blood plum with lardo and a hearty meat plate. You can also choose to leave the deciding to Jones with the sample plate ($25).
If you're hanging out for dessert, he'll also be whipping up deconstructed strawberry and white ganache doughnuts and a crumble flavoured with Grifter's pale ale, ginger ice cream and ganache.
While the main menu will end at 10pm, Cheesy Grin will also be serving toasties right up until closing (which is 2am on Fridays and Saturdays), so you can cure that carb craving at 1am without hunting down a kebab store. The toasties will come on four different bread types — pretzel, brioche, sourdough and semi-sourdough — with a choice of fillings like sopressa and cured egg yolk, four cheeses, and snow peas and mint. If, on the opposite side of the evening, you're there early, you'll be able to order one of the few bowls of pasta available each night.
At the moment Cheesy Grin's extended residency doesn't have a set end date, but we suggest you don't delay heading in to check it out.
Cheesy Grin will open at Freda's on Wednesday, January 31. Head to the website for more details and the full menu.
Before Wesley Cooper Jones launched Cheesy Grin this summer and had pop-ups at various Sydney bars and breweries – including and The Midnight Special – he was sous chef at New York’s Roberta’s. The joint is famous for its unorthodox and creative pizzas, and more recently its ambition to create more formal fare with cured meats, artful pasta dishes and foraged greens.
Jones used his experience at the pizzeria to create Cheesy Grin’s modern Italo-Australian menu, which has now found a permanent home at Chippendale’s Freda’s (it’s taking over from former kitchen resident Moon Pizza).
He’s created a fun, sophisticated yet approachable food line-up that Jones says changes depending on which day and at what time you visit, to reflect Freda’s creative come-as-you-are charm. It is also influenced by the events hosted there, such as live music and art shows. “It’s a transitional menu that applies to what Freda’s is doing on the night, so our menu takes in the atmosphere and choreographs according to that,” he says.
That said, the food available early evening is more likely to be small dishes of cured meat from Pino’s Meats in Kogarah and cheese by Victoria’s Milawa Cheese, as well as selected pasta dishes.
There are also toasties available all night. There’s one made with sopressa (salami), whipped ricotta and parsley-cured egg yolk in a pretzel, or another with wild mushrooms, parmesan, mozzarella and gremolata (Italian herb sauce) all sandwiched in sourdough.
There are hints of Japanese influences, too. “They’re flavours I like, and I’m trying to approach them in my own way and offer snacks people don’t usually eat,” Jones says.
SYDNEY’S BEST TOAST - BROADSHEET
Anyone can make a toasted sandwich or jaffle (i.e. a toasted sandwich with crimped, sealed edges). Slap together some bread, cheese and whatever else you like, and it's ready to go. But as good as the average homemade toastie is, it's got nothing on the sangas at these spots. Leave the house and you'll be rewarded with fancy cheeses, handmade sourdough and even a tea-infused beef filling.
Freda's In-house kitchen Cheesy Grin makes a number with sopressa salami, whipped ricotta and parsley-cured egg yolk. In a pretzel. Oh yes.
107-109 Regent Street
Chippendale NSW 2008