As a change from talking about books, I’ve interviewed Grant Lawn, chef-owner of Bush Restaurant, Redfern Sydney (he does mention a couple of books though).
Thanks for speaking with PaperbarkWords, Grant.
How did your restaurant, Bush, start?
Cooking for family and then pop-ups for the homeless, mainly cheeseburgers.
What is your ethos and aesthetic for Bush?
A space where people can congregate either inside or outside celebrating what it means to be in Australia.
What are your most popular dishes?
Cheeseburgers by far and then the kangaroo curry puffs.
What are some favourite or signature dishes that you serve at Bush?
Wattleseed damper and whipped honey butter – it’s simple but so good when we nail it.
Fairy bread ‘n butter pudding because people have a nostalgic and fun reaction to it. It tastes good which might be surprising, considering how few ingredients are in it. The dish is more than the sum of its parts.
Native ingredients such as strawberry gum, lemon myrtle and bush tomato.
They can be hard to use because they’re different from Western raw ingredients. They’re much more potent.
What dishes are you planning to add next?
Dirty leeks, and a wattleseed gelato affogato dessert.
How/where has Bush already been acclaimed by the media?
We don’t set out to get acclaim. We’re about looking out for what’s best for our customers and Pat (front-of-house) and the rest of our team.
(Bush was on a couple of lists of best restaurants to open in Sydney in 2019 – Broadsheet, Concrete Playground. It’s been featured in TimeOut, SBS Food, the Sun Herald and the Australian Good Food Guide.)
Why did Bush hold a Smoking Ceremony?
Bush is in an area of cultural importance – Redfern. We want to recognise and respect the traditional owners and custodians of the land and begin to engage with them.
Which books have you enjoyed reading or are going to read next?
I’ve almost finished Dr Christian Heim’s The Lazy Way to Overcome Procrastination in Five Easy Steps (But Some Are Hard). It’s taken a few years so far and I’ll have to start again.
Normal People by Sally Rooney – I liked it because I could actually read it without trying too hard. And a friend gave it to me.
What changes do you expect to see at Bush in the near future?
We recently ramped up takeaway.
We’re extending the café into morning trade and now have an espresso machine.
We are about to get a liquor licence and have a more refined dinner trade.
How do people find Bush? Bush is at 55 George St, Redfern, Sydney
Phone 0477 226 511
Website Bush Sydney
‘Bush is about bringing life, green, truth, and happiness to people. We celebrate and nurture life through giving, loving, growing, creating, and feeding’ (Bush website)
*disclaimer – Grant is my son
Food photos by Shardé Heim