While Lumi co-owner Anastasia Drakopoulos prepares to celebrate the genre-pushing restaurant’s fifth birthday, she’s decided it’s time to open a solo side project, Noi.
“This idea of the restaurant has been brewing for quite a while,” she tells Broadsheet. “Not so much Noi as a concept, but putting something in [this space].”
Her ambition follows in the footsteps of her dad, Bill Drakopoulos, who owns Sydney Restaurant Group, which runs a string of eateries including Aqua Dining, Ripples, Ormeggio at the Spit, and the recently opened Fenwick. But unlike those spots, which are located on the harbour with impressive water views, Noi is on Petersham’s Audley Street, not too far from the train station.
“There’s so much potential in the inner west,” Drakopoulos says. “There are already so many places starting to pop up around here and it’s only a matter of time before more things open up. We’re giving people some variety.”
Noi, meaning “us” in Italian, is in a former framing store that’s been redesigned by Barry Babikian of BJB Architects. The space has been stripped back to show off the building’s original characteristics, such as the floorboards and a brick wall that’s beautifully highlighted by clever lighting. A hint of urban luxe shines through the dark navy upholstery, gold trimmings and polished concrete bar.
“We want to be a cool and relaxed joint that people can come to where they can say hi to the chef,” Drakopoulos says. “Ultimately, we want guests to feel part of the family, too. We want to encapsulate ‘noi’.”
Drakopoulos has brought in Alessandro Intini (ex-Aqua Dining) and his partner Frederica Costa to run the kitchen. Intini trained as a butcher and draws on those skills to make pig-head terrine and oxtail consommé, as well as his Veneto heritage (in Italy’s north-east) to create attractively plated dishes, such as a take on a risi e bisi (rice and peas) with cured salmon. The menu also pays tribute to Costa’s hometown of Genoa with a pansotti (Ligurian ravioli) filled with ricotta and borage (a blue-flower plant) and dressed with walnut sauce.
For dessert, there’s a playful miso-soil tiramisu (not dissimilar to the Italian-Japanese hybrid dishes you get at Lumi) and a cream sponge cake with goat-milk custard and almond-milk granita.
Head sommelier Gianluca Casagrande has put together a comprehensive Italian-leaning wine list, with a few Australian and French options. Drakopoulos says the list will be expanded to include other selections, including a range of natural pours.
108 Audley Street, Petersham
(02) 9337 7377
Mon & Tue 5pm–late
Thu to Sun 12–3pm, 5pm–late