16 April 2024

Rosemary by Eighty Twenty in Kingston: Open for dinner three days a week!

| Michelle Taylor
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cafe exterior

Rosemary by Eighty Twenty. Photo: Kazuri Photography.

Eighty Twenty is the cafe I frequent most often in my own time, specifically because I am addicted to their crunch bowl, a peanut butter-infused acai bowl.

So best believe I notice the name change of its Kingston store to ‘Rosemary by Eighty Twenty’. When I drop in to investigate, I learn that the new team offers all the original fabulousness of Eighty Twenty, brings unique specials to the day menu, and serves dinner three nights a week!

This alone may not pique your interest, but it might when you learn that the team is headed up by Ton Supwanakit, who has worked with Monster, Zaab and Alcove Bar, and Vit Srichaiket – formerly an executive chef at Inka.

Ton says that he and Vit first met on the football field, a camaraderie that has developed into a business partnership over a shared passion for creating delicious food. They came on board with the Kingston Eighty Twenty because they embrace its food philosophy of 80 per cent mindfulness with 20 per cent indulgence and clean, unprocessed meals.


Pan-seared scallops with soubise, chilli butter and saltbush. Photo: Kazuri Photography.

I have eaten every other meal combination at Eighty Twenty: breakfast, morning tea, brunch, lunch and afternoon tea. High time to book in for a dinner!

We get to Rosemary by Eighty Twenty as soon as it opens for dinner service. We vacillate between sitting alfresco out on the patio or indoors with an oversized bay window looking out at life unfolding in old Kingston. We settle on an inside table and then focus on the dinner menu. One side boasts two tasting menus ($79 for regular and $69 for vegetarian); the other, the la carte offerings.

We love scallops, so we start with pan-seared scallops with soubise, chilli butter and saltbush to share. Fat, tender scallops with crisp edges are topped with soubise sauce and a sweet, crunchy sprig of saltbush.

I have never had a soubise sauce before and this delicate French sauce balances caramelised onions with a bechamel-like creaminess. The chilli butter has melted over everything and becomes delightfully infused with the umami hit of fresh seafood. We slurp up the melted chilli butter and scallop juices from the shell it is served in.

tempura eggplant

Tempura eggplant with yuzu glaze, aioli pickles and jalapeno. Photo: Kazuri Photography.

Our second entrée is big chunks of tempura eggplant with yuzu glaze, aioli pickles and jalapeno. Sesame seeds stud the crunchy fried tempura exterior, giving way to butter-smooth eggplant inside. The tangy yuzu glaze contrasts with the salt and meaty eggplant. We find this vegan dish surprisingly light while still tasting decadent.

Our first main is 14-day dry-aged Wagyu scotch with burnt garlic sauce and chimichurri.

This is my first taste of dry-aged steak and I like it. My knife easily slices through the beef, and its flavour is rich and umami. The burnt garlic sauce brings layers of complexity – all at once, it is smooth, sweet, smoky, bitter and lush. Ton says it is his favourite sauce for meat. The chimichurri sauce packs a zingy smack to the tastebuds, too.

Our second main is a squid ink risotto with prawn, scallops and fennel. It arrives glossy and silken, each kernel of rice still holding its shape. We enjoy the chargrilled prawns and scallops and the refreshing licorice notes from curls of fennel.

We are winding down, pleasantly satisfied with a cleverly curated meal. Ton convinces us to finish with tiramisu. The team’s delicate and smooth version of this classic brings a satisfied smile to our faces. It is tiers of house-blend espresso and mascarpone and lady finger biscuits. The layers of espresso-soaked mascarpone are especially generous.

five people leaning against a counter

The Rosemary by Eighty Twenty team! Photo: Kazuri Photography.

Ton notices our enjoyment of our meal. “It is part of the job we love, making people happy with food that we have enjoyed creating,” he says.

At present, this venue is BYO as the team waits anxiously for their liquor license so that they can do something else they excel at – pairings!

Rosemary by Eighty Twenty is located at 9/15 Tench Street in Kingston (or check out their other locations). It is open seven days a week from breakfast and lunch from 6 am to 3 pm. It reopens for dinner from 5:30 pm to 9:30 pm on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. Follow Rosemary by Eighty Twenty on Instagram to drool over some of their gorgeous food or, better yet, drop in to try their dinner menu.

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A regular daytime patron, I was delighted to discover Rosemary was opening for dinner. The whole family were very impressed with the delicious flavours presented in the tasting menu. Congrats to Ton and Vit for a great addition to the Inner South dining scene.

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