When Bird Cow Fish closed earlier this year, it wasn’t because it was going under. The Crown Street restaurant had been doing quite well. It’s in a great spot in a thriving hub. But when it was time for Alex Herbert to move on, opportunity came knocking for the team a few doors up at Toko and Tokonoma.

The Toko team have taken over the ex-Bird Cow Fish site and they are gearing up to open with something completely different mid next week. So don’t expect the signature Japanese influence here. And there’s quite a bit that has changed inside as the team stamps the venue as their own with the help of architect Matt Darwon who also worked with them on Toko.

“Bird Cow Fish was quite a closed environment,” says Toko general manager Paul Birtwistle as we stand amongst the construction. “We wanted to open it all up and create an environment where you walk in and you see the chefs working- and you know the chefs hopefully. We want to make it like you’re walking into someone’s house with a big open kitchen.”

There’s a kitchen island height bar, a nook that has plans for bookshelves and a whole lot of recycled timber and brick in the new look space.

Inspired by the shared British heritage of Birtwistle and head chef Ben Orpwood (previously sous chef at Toko) the team are looking to create a true Brit home-style feel. And they are taste testing house made jams and marmalades as we speak.

“Whatever we can, we’ll be sourcing as locally as we can. And the menu will be evolving and dynamic.”

Rainford Street Social has a soft opening this weekend, with full opening from Wednesday and has plans for book ahead roasts- done just the way you want- as well as kids cooking opportunities. They’re hoping to put the hospitable back into hospitality.

Rainford Street Social
4-5/500 Crown Street, Surry Hills (Cnr Rainford Street)
(02) 8354 1140

Wed-Thurs 11am-11pm
Fri 11am-midnight
Sat 8am-midnight
Sun 8am-7pm