It’s my first visit to Social & Co. since it opened a few months ago in that prime city location – Bailey’s Corner.
It’s looking gorgeous and builder Lindsay glows with pride as talks about the major fitout and points out the decorative tiling, metalwork, ceiling plasterwork and aged timber tables.
Lindsay also built the Cupping Room and he’s brought a similar style across Northbourne.
The effect works! Whether you’re a solo diner looking for a quiet spot overlooking the street, catching up with a friend or meeting a group to share tapas style – Social & Co. has thought of everyone.
I could see several families with children and a range of generations all feeling relaxed and comfortable in the unpretentious yet stylish spaces.
But very importantly, the food is excellent! Our Lamb shoulder slow cooked with creamy hummus, tabouli, crisy kale and wood fired flat bread ($17) I’d gladly enjoy again.
Also brilliant was our 1/2 serve of Salmon fillet (250gm) marinated with chamoula and served with Turkish spices roast potatoes and Green beams steamed with olive olive and black pepper ($25).
With a huge Rocket and parmesan pear salad for just $9, this was almost too much for just two of us and very sadly I couldn’t also enjoy that wonderful sounding Manchego (Spanish sheep’s milk cheese) cheesecake with berry puree and raspberry gelato ($14).
My friends coincidentally lunching at the next table with their parents before the theatre, rated all their dishes very highly.
They insisted I try their Jalapeño poppers filled with cream cheese ($9), that were indeed very good.
They loved their Fluffy zucchini and feta fritters with Greek yogurt dressing (3 per serve) ($10)…..
…their Espinacas con garbanzos (spinach and chickpeas) ($11)…
…Hummus plate and wood fired flat bread ($10) (yes, the hummus was very good)….
…Mixed warm olives ($8)…
…and Grilled Asparagus, prosciutto and aged balsamic vinegar ($15).
I couldn’t help but also notice that this group of four had eaten well for under $16 each!
Another couple had also ordered amazingly well for a tight budget and were enjoying the zucchini fritters ($10), Fried calamari with saffron aioli ($13) and a large side of those beautifully crispy green beans ($9). This meal would have also only been $16 per person.
The sides really are incredibly generous and great to add to a shared menu for variety, flavour and value.
Turkish spiced roast potatoes as a side $10 – beware though, they really are spicy!
Other great value and delicious dishes are the pizzas and Antipasto plate which are Social & Co. most popular orders. The Antipasto plate comes with with cured meats (prosciutto, salami), cheese (Brie and gorgonzola), pickles, pesto, mixed olives, roasted vegetables, beetroot dip, artichoke, pear, basil and wood fired flat bread. I had to check several times that this was really a $17 serve for one person!
The pizzas are usually $20-$26 but between 12-3pm only $15. Cooked in the huge wood fire oven, they make a good add-on to a shared menu.
Curtis, who loves cooking the pizzas, explained that the dough is a slow proving style that is not neaded but rather, left in the fridge to prove slowly.
This gives the pizzas a delightful, sumptuous fluffy edge. I loved the look of the Prosciutto, gorgonzola and pear pizza, but Curtis’ favourite is the Casalingo salami, fresh pineapple and jalapeños.
If you are still looking for more good value ideas – Happy Hour 4-6pm weekdays offers $5 house wine, beer and spirits.
But wine by the glass is very reasonable anyway starting at $9 a glass.
Other good looking dishes coming out of the kitchen while I was there were the Burto Soco fried chicken with ghost pickle, coriander, slaw, hot sauce and aioli (4 per serve) ($13)….
….Lamb ribs slow cooked and made sticky with red current (4 per serve) ($13)….
….King prawns with tomato, garlic, coriander, lime and extra virgin olive oil…..
….Lamb souvlaki skewers served with braised rice and lemon (2 per serve – but you could share the pieces further) ($17).
Open 6 days 10am – Late (food orders finish at 9:30pm but bar stays open). Closed Sundays.
My verdict – one of the best city spots to meet up with friends and share a interesting variety of dishes that’s very well priced with an attractive, stylish decor, airy open setting and good food. Highly accessible – in location, price and flexibility. Feel comfortable to order small or big and to bring kids. Nice and close for a meal before heading to the theatre.
We were guests of Social & Co. on behalf of the AGFG team, but the opinions expressed are my own.