Sideways woodfired restaurant and bar on Rowell Road serves up homely hospitality and comfort food from the hearth.
The aroma of freshly baked bread is unmistakable as we slide open the door to Sideways. Rusty-red brick walls and solid wood-lined furniture add to the rustic welcome. About a year old, this is the sister establishment to The Hangar cafe on Arab Street. Spruced up but with just as much laid-back charm, it fits right in with its colourful locale. This neighbourhood used to be where the city’s abbatoirs and quarters for government workers were located. Red light district, conservation area and arts precinct are just some of the labels the area wears.
On a typical Saturday morning, Rowell Road is sleepy, save for the clear strains of Indian music blasting from a telecom shop. Meander down a row of conserved terraces and you’d arrive at No. 109, Sideways. Just beside it lies an alleyway leading to Desker Road, adorned with a striking mural by American street artist El Mac. Once inside, the warmth of the woodfired oven takes centrestage.
Start with the rye sourdough bread ($5), which has a crisp crust yet enough airy pockets for a light and chewy middle. Pair it with the glistening avo pesto dip ($12) for a toothsome bite. The roasted shrimps ($14) are another must-order. Straight from the hearth, it arrives on your table smoky, plump and juicy, cradled by a heady shrimp head broth you want to mop up with the rest of your bread.
For a good old slab of meat on the fire, go for their Stairway to Heaven ($18) medium rare Aussie ribeye steak. This is housed under their Small Plates menu but still comes in a fairly substantial portion that you can have as a main. Otherwise, there’s their tender smoked lamb ribs with roasted potatoes, zucchini and fresh shallot sambal ($26), or the stuffed flatbread brimming with smoky bacon, mozzarella, basil and tomato sauce ($15) to tempt your taste buds with.
If you love your tipples, you would have come to the right place too as the bar showcases several signature cocktails such as Dark & Warmy ($20), a triple distilled orange zest rum with ginger beer and lime, and craft spirits from around the world. Gin alone includes offerings such as Margaret River Distilling Co. Giniversity Botanical Gin ($22) and Melbourne Gin Company Dry Gin ($20) from Australia, and Gin Gold 999.9 ($22) from France.
109 Rowell Road. Tel: 6291 3441 (a 5-min walk from Jalan Besar station)