20 December 2023

After closing in Kiama, Bar Padres has popped up in Thirroul with a tiny, tasty takeaway pasta menu

| Dione David
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Barry Pearson of Bar Padres Pasta smiles outside Buck Hamlin cafe in Thirroul

Buck Hamlin in Thirroul becomes a staging ground for chef Barry Pearson to run Bar Padres Pasta four nights a week. Photo: Region.

Mere weeks after the sudden closure of Kiama crowd favourite Bar Padres, the restaurant has popped up at Buck Hamlin cafe in Thirroul, serving up a short but precise menu of takeaway pasta.

For the next couple of months, Bar Padres Pasta will take over the Buck Hamlin kitchen four nights a week with a rotating menu.

The current menu includes classics with the kinds of twists typical of chef Barry Pearson, including beef shin rigatoni, a crumbed Wagyu beef lasagne, carbonara and porcini and eggplant ragu as well as kids’ pasta and dessert. All of it comes in paper boxes and can be enjoyed onsite or at home.

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Barry and his business partner Andrew Juskiw were the team not only behind Bar Padres in Kiama but also popular Thirroul burger joint Papi’s and its successor, Buster’s Tavern, as well as Mexican fun fine dining establishment Boveda in Thirroul with partner Amy Boatwright.

While this is a sort of trial run for Barry and Andrew, things are looking promising.

“We’re getting a lot of Thirroul locals, and a lot of young families who don’t necessarily want to go to Boveda for a full dining experience,” Andrew said.

“We have even had Bar Padres customers coming from Kiama to get pasta, which is really cool to see.”

Bar Padres Pasta on a table at Buck Hamlin

The beef shin rigatoni with tomato sugo and parmesan cream is the current menu’s front runner. Photo: Region.

Andrew said Buck Hamlin’s proximity to the Boveda kitchen, where a lot of the prep is done for Bar Padres pasta, made it the ideal staging ground for the pop-up, and pasta made the most sense for a lean, no-fuss approach.

“In Kiama, we primarily cooked on fire, but the kitchen here hasn’t got a lot of equipment, so we can’t do that here,” he explained.

“This lets us offer something high quality, delicious and substantial, which we can prepare in the bigger kitchen next door and finish off here.”

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The initial menu includes options that can be adapted as gluten-free, with the possibility of other dietary adaptations with sufficient notice, and a $59 family deal comprising two full size pasta meals, two kids’ pasta meals and a side dish.

While still in the trial and error phase, Andrew says a few favourites are emerging that may become menu fixtures if the pop-up becomes permanent.

“The beef shin rigatoni with parmesan cream is a best seller and the crumbed lasagne is very popular. It’s smothered in a rich red sauce, has a parmesan crumb, and is fried to finish off. It’s pretty damn tasty,” he said.

Following the closure of both Bar Padres and Buster’s, the pair don’t have any plans to expand into a food empire just yet. Then again…

“Never say never,” Andrew said. “I think for now we just want to do this, we want to stay local and do our own thing. But anything can happen.”

Bar Padres Pasta is open Wednesday to Saturday, 5 pm to 9 pm at Buck Hamlin, 260 Lawrence Hargrave Drive, Thirroul.

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