Jason Kuyltjes is a Mayfield boy from way back.
He grew up in the Newcastle suburb and, as a teen, worked at the family's takeaway shop on Ingall Street across the road from Mayfield Bowling Club. In 2018 he opened a restaurant at the club called Roy's Kitchen & Catering in 2018 and it proved to be a surprise success, and now he has moved Roy's Kitchen to the former Barrio 2304, a popular tapas restaurant run by Andrew Cavanagh and Rachel Bryan for 10 years.
If you liked Roy's Kitchen at the bowling club, you'll love Roy's Kitchen at 45 Maitland Road, Mayfield. Roadworks make it difficult to find from the road at present and the fit-out is still a work in progress, but you can still expect the warmest of welcomes as well as a top-notch feed.
"The menu has old Roy's faves like burgers and nachos and is full of flavour," Kuyltjes said.
"With the way things are at the moment we are going to start with a takeaway-only focus before slowly opening up dine-in options as we feel more comfortable in the space. Expect to see some small plates and cocktails on the horizon."
Kuyltjes lived within walking distance of Mayfield Bowling Club for many years and always thought it had great potential for a bistro.
"The years passed and still no one had taken the opportunity so I threw my hat in the ring," he said. "It was my first restaurant and I had heartfelt plans to help the club become the epicentre of 'community' in the area."
Then COVID-19 hit in March and dining in was no longer an option. Nor was takeaway, much to Kuyltjes's dismay. It was, he says, "the straw that broke the camel's back" and the doors to Roy's Kitchen reluctantly closed.
"What happened in the two years we were at the club, I could never have imagined. It was crazy," Kuyltjes said.
"We are so grateful to have met so many amazing people and so many of them I now comfortably call friends and not customers. A massive part of our success is directly related to how Sarah [Miller], my beautiful partner and restaurant manager, communicates with people."
Cooking is a way of life for Kuyltjes and his family. Not only did his mother run Ingall St Takeaway, but his father was an off-site caterer and his brother is a chef.
"I have worked all over Newcastle in about 15 wildly different kitchens - at bars, cafes, restaurants and even a hole in the wall - learning what to do and what not to do along the way," he said, laughing.
"I love cooking as much as I love leading a team although admittedly, I didn't fall in love with commercial cooking straight away at all. I found it really tough and used it purely as a means to study and support myself. But now, I am proud to say, it's part of who I am and I couldn't imagine a career doing anything else."
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