Food News

Bar Rochford’s ex-head chef has a new pop-up restaurant in south Canberra

A short lease, new energy and an ever-changing menu. After a self-imposed sabbatical, Louis Couttoupes is back.
Ashley St George

Louie Couttoupes has his mojo back. The self-trained chef made his mark at Canberra’s Bar Rochford, where he netted a Gourmet Traveller Bar of the Year award during his tenure, before embarking on a sabbatical in early 2019. Inspired by recent travels to Asia, he’s back at the pass with renewed vigour and purpose with Kiosk, his five-month pop-up restaurant in Kingston.

Described as “temporary dining”, Kiosk is an opportunity for Couttoupes to road-test new dishes in the city’s southern parts from now until May. “I’ve taken on a short lease here,” says Couttoupes. “I’d like to look at a permanent site if I can make things work.”

Kiosk is a high-tempo affair with frequent changes to the menu. “I want to keep things simple and flexible. I’d like the team to have the confidence to scratch an item from the blackboard and write up a new one during service,” says Couttoupes.

The blackboard menu.

(Photo: Ashley St George.)

So blink and you might just miss the half chicken roasted in a miso sambal, or the kingfish ceviche with gentle heat from mustard wasabina, a variety of mustard leaf with a wasabi-like flavour. But visit again, and you could be rewarded with charred quarters of cabbage with tangy anchoïade and pangrattato, or a dish of smoked mozzarella and peas backed up with puffed sorghum for texture.

White-anchovy panzanella.

(Photo: Ashley St George)

There’s big energy coming from Couttoupes thanks to that short lease and recent travels and collaborations. “Myanmar in particular blew my mind. We ate incredible street food – an exciting and weird mismatch of Indian, Chinese and Thai cuisines,” he says. He’s also drawn inspiration from recent collaborative dinners with Paperbark, the inventive vegan restaurant in Sydney.

Like the menu, the drinks selection is ever-changing with Couttoupes aiming to cater to a broad palate spectrum. “I love the stinky new wines but recognise I’ll need more conservative, but still tasty, options for this market,” he says. “Same deal with the beers, which I’ll source from Capital Brewing here in Canberra and Wildflower in Sydney.”

Louis Couttoupes.

(Photo: Ashley St George.)

Outside Kiosk.

(Photo: Ashley St George)

But like many chefs before him, Couttoupes has decided to retire his signature dish from Bar Rochford, those salt and vinegar potato galettes. “I don’t want to see another galette for a very long time,” he says. “Using a mandoline to cut 20 kilos of potatoes a day was a bit much.”

Kiosk, corner Eyre and Jardine Streets, Kingston, ACT, 0424 894 763,

Open Tue-Thu from 6pm, and Fri-Sat from 5pm.

Walk-ins only, no bookings accepted.

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