Dinner is set at Subo

Beau and Suzie Vincent wanted a happy team and happy guests. At Subo’s they have both.

You could say that change is at the heart of everything for Newcastle restaurant Subo. Since owners Beau and Suzie Vincent first opened the doors to the Hunter Street restaurant in 2011 their vision has twisted and turned, playing to their strengths and seeing the two-hatted restaurant come of age among some of the region’s finest.

It was a desire for a sea change that led the then just married duo, to up roots and relocate from Sydney. The allure of a coastline less spoilt and some space to spread out saw the couple take up residence in Newcastle, take a punt on the Hunter Street venue and fulfil a longheld ambition for chef Beau. “Beau had always wanted his own place and we were both quite keen to do our own thing and run a restaurant the way we envisaged it to be; to have a happy team and happy guests and use our talents,” said Suzie. Beau’s cooking career began at the age of 16. Over time he took on roles at Tetsuyas, Guillaume (where he later became head chef) and Restaurant Assiette. He won the Lexus Australian Young Chef of the Year in 2006 and snagged third place in the San Pellegrino Cooking Cup in Venice.

Suzie can also boast an impressive CV. Born to a Malayasian/Chinese mother and Polish father she has always been drawn to international cuisine and spent has saffron many years exploring food around the globe. Suzie completed her chef’s apprenticeship at Claude’s in Woollahra, established Strewth coffee shop in Crows Nest alongside her father and sister and went on to front of house at both the Burlington Bar in Sydney and Melbourne’s Centonove. Subo first opened with a bistro style inspired by overseas restaurants, focusing on using premium ingredients cooked simply, offering a refined gastronomy in a relaxed and contemporary environment. As time rolled on the restaurant became noted for its catering of special occasions, securing highly coveted hats for its work.

Rather than defy the direction that seemed to be evolving, the savvy duo embraced it with great enthusiasm, and began developing the set menu across the entire restaurant that is their hallmark today. With a young family to add to the fold, more change began to take shape, seeing Beau take the reins at home and make way for new head chef Mal Christensen and sommelier wife Kate to step in. With Suzie at front of house, the restaurant offers a five-course seasonal menu that leverages Australian produce and is, where possible, locally sourced. Leveraging Kate’s in-depth knowledge of wine, a dining experience at Subo is one like no other. Menus change every six weeks, giving patrons even more reason to keep it on the list of favourites.

Right now, you’ll find a venison tartare, served with a chestnut emulsion, pickled celery and pickled shallot. There’s also fresh cuttlefish with charred hispi cabbage, smoked hazelnut and lovage. Shredding, charring, smoking and curing are all ways in which Mal draws out the full flavours of the ingredients, offering a contemporary twist to quality produce. Equally delicious is the Armidale lamb rump and belly with caramelised Kohlrabi, red speckled peas and black garlic. The list goes on and is always every bit as tempting as it sounds. Not surprisingly, this first-class dining experience offers sumptuous desserts (ginger beer cake and red sugar honeycomb anyone?) and wines perfectly paired to accompany every dish. Bookings of up to 18 can enjoy a private dining experience in the separate glass house annex, ideal for special celebrations and served with the same set menu.
Subo is open from 6pm, Tuesday to Saturday. Reservations are highly recommended.

Story by Lesley Horsburgh, photography by Marina Neil and Josh Vincent (food photography)