Alpha is the new Greek in town and it’s a fresh take on some traditional favourites. Housed in what was the old, cave-like Australian Workers Union, the dark façade and navy blue awnings give way to a hewn stone, raw brick and white painted interior, with lights reminiscent of fishing nets and plenty of lightwood touches.
Walls are deeply graven with the Greek alphabet – cleverly intoning the name of the place – and something about the stone touches invokes a subterranean Mediterranean feel. It’s cool and welcoming, with long marble topped tables, cane recliners and an emphasis on sharing. Peter Conistis (previously of ill-fated Omega) is the front man here and the Hellenic Club is backing him.
The menu reads like a list of your Yiayia’s classics, with meze of ouzo-cured ocean trout, taramasalata and tzatziki made from sheep’s milk yoghurt. Follow those up with larger dishes like spanakopita for two, Greek spiced, slow-roasted lamb shoulder or snapper pie. But the desserts are worth a look too, with kataifi and mastic cream, puffy loukoumades doughnut balls in spiced honey syrup, or chocolate baklava rounding out the menu alongside coffee by Will & Co.
Just in case you don’t want to make those tough menu decisions, the Yiayia’s table option (for groups of four or more) delivers nine dishes to work through, while the view of the kitchen adds a sense revelry to the atmosphere. The adjoining food store is a nice takeaway touch and helps to make the most of what is a big space. Alpha is already at home in its Mediterranean skin – but true to the name, we hear this is just the beginning.
238 Castlereagh Street, Sydney
(02) 9098 1111
Mon to Fri noon–11pm