The graffiti clad exterior of Dub is deceptive, for inside the space that used to be SAAM new chef Kaleb Davis has worked to combine the ethos behind his 5star hotel experience with the relaxed friendly street vibe of New Zealand where the Hong Kong native grew up.
The result, in combination with long term friends Bibiana Ling and Alex Gardner, is a relaxed comfortable 25 seat venue that offers a small but varied menu of comfort food. But expect the menu to expand as Kaleb and Alex experiment with the latest in food preparation ‘toys’, from restaurant owner Catering Depot, in their new kitchen.
Dub invited bc to sample some of the dishes on their soft opening menu. Upon arrival we were served with a 3 roll bread basket which included a tasty squid ink roll that went nicely with the herb butter. All the wines are available by the glass.
For starters we had the quail scotch egg; quail eggs wrapped in homemade pork cheek sausage meat and then breaded and cooked and served on a bed of horseradish. A nice twist on the traditional scotch egg, with the diced cut pork cheek having a lovely texture and offering good strong but not overpowering flavours to start; with four halves to a portion there’s plenty to go around.
Served with sourdough toast slices, the tartare is fresh and fairly spicy with the mix a little heavy on the onions and capers – which might not please those who prefer a more full meat tartare. The flavour is good and the portion size enough to share.
The menu currently consists of six main dishes Wagyu Beef & Pork Cheek Rissoles ($228), Crispy 24Hour Pork Belly ($228), Charred Spring Chicken ($228), Lamb T-Bones 140oz ($298) 1/2 Breaded Red Mullet Fillets ($198) andGoats Cheese Tortellini ($178). Fellow diners were effusive and vocal in their enjoyment of the pork belly and tortellini options.
bc tried the wagyu beef and pork rissoles served on bed of orzo pasta risotto with a smoked tomato sauce. Orzo pasta is a short cut pasta shaped like a rice grain, and makes for a risotto that’s a little different to that your taste buds are expecting. The wagyu beef and pork cheek rissoles are cooked pink and full of flavour with the meat juices enriching the risotto. A very enjoyable dish, although the smoked flavour of the tomato sauce was barely noticeable amidst the other strong flavours of the rest of the dish.
bc can’t remember seeing lamb served locally as a T-bone steak before and the concept is intriguing and tasty – here two t-bones are served with beautifully roasted potatoes. But it’s a dish that’s a work in progress, the two t-bones were cooked rare, almost blue for the thicker one, making the meat difficult to remove from the small bones. While Dub has a street vibe, it’s not the sort of place where you feel comfortable picking up and chewing the bone to get at that lovely flavour. The sweet wine sauce served on the side was nice but overpowered the meaty flavour of the lamb. A slightly thinner cut of t-bones, maybe an inch thick rather two inches and the option to have the ‘t-bone’ steaks cooked to ones preference would let this dish shine.
There’s a range of sides including: Mac n Cheese Arancini ($68), Truffle Fries ($58), Eggplant and Buffalo Mozzarella salad ($128). While the dessert options include Pecan Pie ($88), Mango Creme Brulee ($88) and Apple Tarte Tatin with Salted Caramel Ice-cream ($88)
Dub is a friendly relaxed place with efficient but un-obtrusive service. The dishes are familiar but with a twist, the flavours complex but not so that you can’t relax over a meal. Portion sizes are good, and plated with care. There’s an understated attention to detail that promises more to come as Kaleb becomes comfortable with his kitchen and that subtle difference between working for someone and being Chef and Owner of his own restaurant.