We’ve been jumping at the chance to try Table for 20 for so long and are pretty stoked we finally tried it. Our first obstacle was finding the restaurant and then finding the back entrance to the restaurant which was a bit difficult due to a lack of direction, the lack of signage, the weird street numbering and google maps. I would post how to get there if only I knew how we ended up getting inside.
Once we got inside, we went straight upstairs to Sticky Bar - enjoyed some extremely good cocktails (with some pretty gangstar names e.g. the tupac gram $18), (creepily) and watched as other patrons enjoyed some paella which was $15 per plate with a drink. We also wondered who the people we’d be eating with will be like (will they be all oldies and will it be super awkward and will we have nothing to talk about except the pension, lawn bowls or other old people things?!?!)
Upstairs, Sticky Bar.
Upstairs Sticky Bar
At 8pm, we headed downstairs to be greeted by two parallel rectangular tables of twenty each. Owner, Michael Fantuz greeted us and gave a small talk on the philosophy of the joint. Table for 20 is based on his mother’s Sunday lunches where she feeds 15 people without any dramas or help. He said he has a lot of drama and help here and apologised that it won’t be as good as his mother’s (how sweet). Essentially, how it works is a plate of the entree/main/dessert is shared between each 4-6 people on the table of 20.
Not only do they have a great underlying philosophy behind the restaurant but a small proportion of what we pay for dinner goes to the Hope Street Foundation, of which they raised 500K for last year and are aiming to raise 600K for this year.
After that, we cracked open our bottles of wine (BYO, no corkage), listened to the amazing live musician (who sounded better than most popular ‘artists’ live) and had a good chat to the other really interesting people on our table (they were a good mix of 20-30 year olds (probably 80% of the people there) with the rest of the demographic being a mix of 30 - 60 year olds.)
We started off with warm bread with olive oil and sea salt and an entree of short pasta with prawns (unpictured). In my opinion, there’s nothing better than good freshly baked bread with butter or olive oil and salt, so this really hit the spot. The pasta was quite good too, it was a little spicy and the prawns were very chunky, at times tasting like crab. I almost filled up on the entree and had to take a slight break before the main started.
Pork belly with beetroot sauce, cauliflower salad and roast potatoes.
The above picture was our main and it was also pretty amazing. The pork belly was so succulent, the cauliflower was so light and the potatoes were roasted to golden perfection. We tried to do that douchey Masterchef thing where we got all the little elements and had it in one mouthful and they were right… it tasted even better!
Finally, for dessert, this was unanimously the highlight of our night. The chocolate parfait was greeted with almost a standing ovation because it looked so pretty. Taste wise, it was light, fluffy and mousse like and the strawberries were heaven. I don’t think I was the only one hoping that the kitchen made an tremendous error and would bring out 100,000 more of the same dessert.
Overall, we loved the philosophy behind Table for 20. It was very communal and there was a lot of plate sharing and serving food onto the plates of people who were just strangers 20 minutes earlier. We really got the family like vibe and the liveliness of it all and thought it was a great concept. We also couldn’t help think, if this wasn’t as good as Michael’s mum’s cooking, I wonder what Mrs Fantuz’s family lunches are like!
Table for 20
182 Campbell Street
Surry Hills NSW 2010
For bookings call or text: 0416 096 916