Some names go together: Simon and Garfunkel. Watson and Crick. Smith and Singleton. Haven’t heard of the latter? That’s okay. All you really need to know is that Smith + Singleton is the hot new restaurant in Parkville/North Melbourne.
Okay, fine. I’ll give you some background: Drs. William Smith and John Singleton founded the Royal Children’s Hospital in 1870. Right next door to the present hospital is a brand-new Art Series Hotel, the Larwill Studio, in which you can now find Smith + Singleton. It’s singlehandedly bringing a dose of much-needed culinary cool to Flemington Road and North Melbourne/Parkville.
TPO co-founder Rukmal and I were invited to a media launch to celebrate the restaurant, headed up by chefs Paul Dunlop and Lucas Sansome (formerly of St. Katherine’s and Maha). As expected with such a pedigree, this isn’t a hole-in-the-wall. The tunes were pumping, the crowd was ready to party. Decor-wise exposed brick walls loom over an expansive space. artist-in-residence Mark Schaller was busy creating a painting to be auctioned off for charity. We couldn’t believe how quickly he worked – it was the talking point of the evening.
To one side, an open kitchen let party-goers watch as the endless trays of food came out for us to sample. The menu is a collection of Australian hits and tweaks on old standards: you can have everything from pizza to small bites of fried olives. On opening night, the bite-sized fish burgers were a hit; and although I’m not a calamari fan, I was assured by the food bloggers in attendance that it was excellent. My favourite had to be the mac’n’cheese beignettes, small breaded squares of cheesy, gooey goodness. I barely had enough room for the final dessert: puffed rice granola with poached pear and pistachios. All washed down with Aperol Spritz cocktails.
There’s something for everyone here: locals in North Melbourne and Parkville who want a nice dinner close by; hospital workers needing an above-par takeway sandwich; plus the families visiting sick kids. (We heard a story that that was the inspiration for putting a great restaurant in this location: so that relatives of the patients at Royal Children’s could have somewhere to go other than McDonald’s).
The coolest part for me was meeting the great-grand-daughter of Dr. Smith. She had no idea the restaurant was named after her illustrious forbearer. Smith + Singleton, if you’re listening: get this woman mac’n’cheese beignettes for life!
Co-founder of The Plus Ones, Theresa is thrilled that there’s a cool new place to visit on Flemington Road.
Smith + Singleton
48 Flemington Rd.