First look: Inside North Sydney’s new mega-venue from the group behind The Charles (2024)

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The glitzy four-in-one hospitality venture is about to be unveiled in North Sydney, with a restaurant, bakery-bar, providore and Japanese venue. Plus 16 hot new eateries set to open across town in coming months.

First look: Inside North Sydney’s new mega-venue from the group behind The Charles (1)

Scott Bolles

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First look: Inside North Sydney’s new mega-venue from the group behind The Charles (2)
First look: Inside North Sydney’s new mega-venue from the group behind The Charles (3)
First look: Inside North Sydney’s new mega-venue from the group behind The Charles (4)
First look: Inside North Sydney’s new mega-venue from the group behind The Charles (5)
First look: Inside North Sydney’s new mega-venue from the group behind The Charles (6)
First look: Inside North Sydney’s new mega-venue from the group behind The Charles (7)
First look: Inside North Sydney’s new mega-venue from the group behind The Charles (8)
First look: Inside North Sydney’s new mega-venue from the group behind The Charles (9)
First look: Inside North Sydney’s new mega-venue from the group behind The Charles (10)
First look: Inside North Sydney’s new mega-venue from the group behind The Charles (11)
First look: Inside North Sydney’s new mega-venue from the group behind The Charles (12)

On Tuesday, July 9, the curtain drops at a new hospitality mega-venue in North Sydney with a contemporary restaurant, separate bakery-wine bar, a providore and a glitzy Japanese restaurant. If you thought Sydney restaurant expansion would slow due to tough trading conditions, think again. Nothing gets in the way of the harbour city and a restaurant launch.

Hatted chef Rhys Connell (ex The Gantry, Sepia) is executive chef of the four-in-one beast opening at 168 Walker Street, North Sydney. The Walker Street precinct is the latest venue from Etymon Projects, the group behind The Charles restaurant in the Sydney CBD. Connell has ex-Nobu London chef Tuan Colombo heading the kitchen at Japanese restaurant Genzo, and a palette of freshly minted interiors.

At the 200-seat Soluna restaurant, Connell will lean in on a produce-driven menu he’s calling “Australian lifestyle cuisine”, where mains will mostly sit between $40-$50 and a couple of dishes below that price spread.

First look: Inside North Sydney’s new mega-venue from the group behind The Charles (13)

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The four venues haven’t landed in North Sydney by chance. Connell explains they are on the same block as the upcoming Victoria Cross metro station, which will put Sydney CBD diners less than a 10-minute trip away. Connell wants to create a community hub for the area and the incoming 386 apartments in the Aura by Aqualand development above them. Locals will be able to pick up charcuterie at providore outlet Una or grab freshly bread in the morning at bakery Sol Bread and Wine, which morphs into a wine bar in the afternoon.

Back over the Harbour Bridge, there are plenty of upcoming openings to get excited about. Neptune’s Grotto, the incoming Italian eatery in the subterranean space beneath sibling restaurant Clam Bar, will unveil chef’s Dan Pepperell and Mikey Clift’s riff of northern Italian in August/September.

A few blocks south, the $60 million facelift of the iconic Wentworth hotel site on Phillip Street, will unveil four yet-to-be-named restaurants from the crew behind Lana and Grana restaurants in the CBD in spring. House Made Hospitality will open a seafood grill in the lobby of the 1960s hotel, and up on the prized horseshoe terrace, there’ll be a rooftop bar that holds 250 people, with a French-Vietnamese restaurant behind it. The fourth venue, a 90-seat bar area, will offer a range of Australian whiskies and an antique spirits collection.

First look: Inside North Sydney’s new mega-venue from the group behind The Charles (14)

Redfern has become a rich source of restaurant openings, too. In July, Attenzione!, a Euro-style eatery and wine bar from a team who cut their teeth at Love Tilly and Bentley Group establishments, will open its doors.

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A few suburbs away in Paddington, Josh and Julie Niland’s launch of Saint Peter at The Grand National Hotel, is also edging closer, as is the Paddo branch of Jimmy’s Falafel on Oxford Street.

The new, yet-to-be-monikered European restaurant from the owners of The Apollo at Potts Point will also open before the end of 2024 (across the road in the old Paper Bird restaurant site).

In late August, Neil Perry’s two new Double Bay venues will touch down: Song Bird, a sprawling multi-level Asian restaurant, and Bobbie’s, a collaboration with Australian-born bar tsar Linden Pride, of New York’s award-winning Dante.

From Cronulla to Bankstown, Sydney is lighting up the runway for new venues. Chase Kojima, the former executive chef at hatted Pyrmont restaurant Sokyo, has chosen a new direction in his food journey, opening Tokyo Samba, a halal, alcohol-free Japanese with a Brazilian twist in the heart of Bankstown. Kojima is aiming for a mid-August launch.

First look: Inside North Sydney’s new mega-venue from the group behind The Charles (15)

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The suburbs have become hot expansion turf for high-profile chefs. Alessandro Pavoni, the chef behind a’Mare restaurant at Crown Sydney, this year snapped up the former Summer Hill post office building where hatted inner west favourite One Penny Red traded until late last year. In mid-August, Pavoni will open an Italian restaurant Postino Osteria in the space before turning his expansionist gaze to Manly, where he will swing open the doors at Cibaria, on the oceanfront in early summer. The sprawling Cibaria will include bakery, pastry, grill and pasta outlets under the one roof.

A northern beaches resident, Pavoni isn’t the only hospitality gun opening in his own backyard. Alex Cameron cut his teeth as group general manager of hatted Sydney venues Franca and Parlar, but the eastern beaches resident has chosen Bronte for his first solo venture. He snapped up the site of 23-year-old restaurant stalwart Wet Paint, which he’ll reboot as Table Manners in August, with a southern-European leaning menu and dishes such as brioche and spanner crab.

Also opening in August, a Cronulla spin-off from Pino’s Vino e Cucina in Alexandria. Owner Matteo Margiotta confirmed he’s nabbed a historic 1908 building on Surf Road, where he’ll open Pino’s Vino e Cucina al Mare.

Margiotta says he moved to the shire during the pandemic, where he’s now an entrenched local. “After nine years we’re taking this leap of faith. It’s a tough climate, everyone says I’m crazy, but we lived in Alexandria when we first opened, and I like doing things [in my own community].”

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First look: Inside North Sydney’s new mega-venue from the group behind The Charles (16)Scott Bolles writes the weekly Short Black column in Good Food.

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First look: Inside North Sydney’s new mega-venue from the group behind The Charles (2024)

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