A substantial new eating precinct is about to open in Sydney's inner-west.
There's nothing like the excitement of a bunch of new restaurants to rejuvenate and redefine an area. It worked at Sydney's Barangaroo, and Alexandria and Rosebery before that, and now it's about to hit Harold Park in a big way.
Next month, the heritage-listed Rozelle Tramshed Depot, built in 1904 on the edge of Harold Park, will be the home of new ventures from Bodega, Tokyo Bird, Eugenio Maiale, Belle's Hot Chicken, Gelato Messina and more. "We really like the concept of the centre - an accessible, local-feeling space with great operators in a smart, design-conscious development," says Joe Valore of Bodega, Porteño and Continental Deli & Bistro.
Valore and his fellow Bodega co-owners Elvis Abrahanowicz and Ben Milgate are opening Bodega 1904, a new take on their Latin-leaning Surry Hills tapas restaurant. "Bodega 1904 will be Bodega-style food with its own flavours," Valore says. Former Bodega chef Joel Humphreys will return to head the kitchen while Valore will run an extensive wine list, with a retail offer to boot. "It'll be great value, with interesting wines - both local and international. We'll also sell picnic-style boxes for people to take home or enjoy in the park," he says.
Morgan McGlone's Belle's Hot Chicken will open later in the year, Surry Hills izakaya Tokyo Bird will switch yakitori for grilled seafood (whisky will still be a focus) at their new venture, Osaka Trading Co, and Sydney institution Gelato Messina will open its ninth Sydney gelateria. Former Danks Street Depot chef Jared Ingersoll and Seagrass Boutique Hospitality Group (Meat and Wine Co, Ribs & Burgers) will collaborate on Butcher and the Farmer, with Ingersoll acting as executive chef at the 300-seat restaurant, butchery, community garden and deli.
Valore, Milgate and Abrahanowicz say they're most excited about the developments (particularly the wood-fired oven) at Flour Eggs Water, a new pasta-focused venue by chef Eugenio Maiale of Besser and A Tavola. They're also up for collaborations with the other restaurant owners, says Valore. "We've had a brief chat about maybe doing something with the guys at The Little Marionette and we've had the very great pleasure of working with the legends at Gelato Messina on several projects so undoubtedly some collaborations will happen."
The Little Marionette's involvement comes in the form of Garçon, a boutique café where coffee is roasted in a vintage Probat roaster in sight of customers. The final two venues are an Egyptian-fusion restaurant, Bekya, from Wally Mostafa and David Conceicao of Al-Aseel, and the relocation of Annandale restaurant Fish & Co.
"We are pretty rapt with the whole crew. It's a truly great line-up. Already there's a really nice feeling of community," says Valore.
Tramsheds Harold Park opens 22 September 2016.
Tramsheds, 1 Dalgal Way, Forest Lodge, NSW; open daily from 7am to 10pm. For venue opening times see tramshedsharoldpark.com.au.