The inner west’s Eastern Mediterranean dining oasis Barzaari is taking its modernised Cypriot, Lebanese, Syrian and Egyptian food from Marrickville to Chippendale.
From October 30, in addition to the Addison Road original, the 120-seat Barzaari Chippendale will operate in the former Kensington Street Social space, spread across the ground floor and a private mezzanine of The Old Clare Hotel.
“It's a lot bigger [and] a bit better looking,” says executive chef Darryl Martin of the restaurant and bar’s new boutique home in the thoughtfully restored, 62-room heritage-listed hotel.
“It kind of looks a lot like the bar in Marrickville in a way – raw and exposed. Marrickville is a bit more exposed brick and concrete colours ... the dim lighting is lovely. [The Old Clare] lends itself very well to the Barzaari concept; we're just going to throw a few little touches in there to give it the accent.”
Martin, a former Quay chef, co-owns the Marrickville venue with Andrew Jordanou, and the pair partnered with Loh Lik Peng (founder of the Unlisted Collective, the international group behind the hotel) to open the new eatery.
The lunch and dinner menu follows its sibling’s food-should-be-shared approach with bites, through small and large plates, sides, desserts and sweets. And the bar will have its own menu, “so people can pop in for snacks or drinks and then move to the table for a larger meal,” Martin says.
“It will change a lot, but I’m starting off with bar snacks [such as] stinging nettle and white-pepper parcels – originally in the Middle East they were generally made with spinach – [and] a lot of oysters. We’re also doing a great sliced bottarga [salted, cured fish roe] with raw garlic, caper leaf and flatbread.”
The drinks list is “under construction”, but sommelier Dennis Roman is in charge here too. His Marrickville list combines wines from Morocco, Romania and Lebanon with local naturals, so expect something similar. Likewise the cocktails – there’s a mix of strong regional flavours and classics.
Barzaari’s signature flame-heated sandpit – used to brew traditional Cypriot coffee – is coming too, and will make “a great little focal point” at the bar, Martin says.
“It's not too high-end; it's not too casual … The people around here appreciate quality and different flavours from different places. I think there's a bit of a hole in the area for this flavour – I think they're going to really like it,” he says.
Barzaari Chippendale is slated to open on October 30.