After seven years, Waterloo Middle Eastern restaurant Kepos & Co will close next month, with chef-owner Michael Rantissi deciding not to renew the venue’s lease. The relaxed courtyard diner’s final service will be on February 19.

Rantissi says he’s chosen to close the venue, which opened in 2015, due to the challenges of the past few years.

“Our lease is coming to an end in a few weeks and with the last couple of years being as challenging as they have been, we felt it was best to not renew the lease, so we can focus on Kepos Street Kitchen as well as some new and exciting projects we’ll launch later this year,” he said in a statement.

Kepos & Co is a spinoff of Redfern diner Kepos Street Kitchen, which opened in 2012. Both eateries showcase the cuisines of the Middle East by way of the Mediterranean, reflecting Rantissi’s upbringing in Tel Aviv. At Kepos & Co the menu is fuelled by a woodfired oven, hummus is pounded at the table in a mortar and pestle, and seasonal vegetables and salads are a constant. Brightly patterned tiles, lanterns and a fountain transport diners to the courtyard oases found in parts of the Middle East.

Around the corner, Kepos Street Kitchen will continue to serve Rantissi’s modern Middle Eastern dishes.

Kepos & Co is slated to close on February 19.