Buvette Masthead

The Side Project: Delicious dining sans frontiers

Beatrice Smith and Amanda Whitley

Modern dining is constantly being disrupted, from the advent of street food and share plates to Canberra’s newest foodie experience – a restaurant without a restaurant. 

David Young’s career started in some of Sydney’s most prolific establishments, but it’s his newest creation (or should we say, project?) that’s really breaking down barriers.

The Side Project aims to hold regular ‘dinner parties’ that transform a space into a 30-seat restaurant for one night only.

“I worked for a long time in Sydney for Rockpool and Fratelli Fresh before moving to Canberra two years ago,” explains David. 

“The idea for The Side Project came just out of a desire to do something different and fun. I want people to have some great food matched with some interesting wines.”

The concept is simple. Thirty people (perhaps friends, perhaps strangers) are brought together on a Sunday night to share a meal. The menu is kept under wraps until the event.

“It’s playing on the idea of a dinner party. You may not necessarily know what the host is cooking, and you may not necessarily know the people sitting at the table with you,.” says David.

“It’s something interesting, something different, something fun. A chance to sit with a bunch of strangers and let the conversation flow.”

David’s local experience is in haute cuisine: from two-hatted Aubergine to slick, Spanish-inspired Temporada, both in the position of Head Chef. But he says The Side Project isn’t about fine dining.

“It’s a chance to draw upon the places I’ve cooked at with the freedom to be able to cook whatever I want.”

“I just want people to feel comfortable – come out and have a good time and relax, and it’s not like your average restaurant meal.”

The Side Project is a real community venture: Lonsdale Street Roasters No.7 are providing the space and floor staff, while Ainslie Cellars are supplying wine, and helping out with matching. David is being supported in the kitchen a young Canberra chef who’s been working at Sepia for a year.

The first Side Project dinner will be held on Sunday 27 November, followed by the last event for the year on Sunday 11 December, and David hopes to make it a fortnightly event in 2017.

Interested in going along? Email [email protected] and follow them on Facebook at @sideproject.cbr.


Beatrice Smith

Bea loves that her job as HerCanberra’s Online Editor involves eating, drinking and interviewing people - sometimes simultaneously. The master of HerCanberra’s publishing schedule, she’s usually found hunched over a huge calendar muttering to herself about content balance. Otherwise, you’ll find her at the movies or ordering a cheese board. More about the Author


Amanda Whitley

Amanda Whitley is the founder and director of HerCanberra. In her 'spare time', she instructs zumba, loves to cook (and eat), and wrangles two gorgeous little girls. She's done everything from present the tv news to operate a stop and go sign and is passionate about connecting Canberra women. More about the Author