First came Arthur, the small, warm'n'welcoming, set-menu-only Australian fine diner on Bourke Street Surry Hills in 2019. Then, in 2022, came Jane, a small Luchetti Krelle-designed wine bar with an Australian influence, about 100 metres up the road.

So, if you were speculating about what restaurateur couple Tristan Rosier and Rebecca Fanning would do next, it would be reasonable to assume that it would be a small but enjoyable space, with an Australian influence and a first name for a moniker. And it would be in Surry Hills.

Fior, which opens tomorrow, will be none of those things. (Actually, it is designed by Luchetti Krelle.) It’s big, it’s Italian, its name is a common noun, and – most intriguingly – it’s in Gymea, in the thick of the Shire.

“I grew up in the Sutherland Shire,” Rosier tells Broadsheet. “And when Bec and I had a couple of kids, we moved back closer to this area to get a bit more space with our family.”

Spurred by the idea that other families could be moving south, chasing the lifestyle, the pair realised there could be room for a restaurant that “you’d usually see closer to the city”.

Rosier and Fanning eventually settled on a spot at the tip of Gymea’s main drag, on Kingsway, one of the Shire’s main arteries. From the outside looking in, thanks to its red-brick exterior and neighbours – an Irish pub, allied health centre and upstairs fitness studio – Fior looks, in the best possible way, every bit like a typical suburban restaurant. It’s only once you get closer that you sense how special it is.

That begins with the interiors. Where Arthur is handsome and Jane is warm and inviting, Fior is airy and light – befitting the much larger space. A tactile, taupe-toned colour palette runs throughout, and the light level is just right (you can read your menu easily and you’ll look good while you do it). While Jane has just one table suited to group dining, Fior has been put together with its locale front of mind.

“I think the majority of our trade will be coming in on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, and I think a big portion of that will be lunches, family catch-ups and birthday celebrations¬ – I’m expecting a lot of large tables to be booked,” Rosier says. “We intentionally left out a lot of booth seating to focus on loose furniture so we can create [almost] any table combination. I know people around the Shire love a big table of 20. In Surry Hills, the most common table size is two to four – here I feel like it’s six.”

The food’s crowd-pleasing, too. Fior takes full advantage of sharing suppliers with two of Sydney’s best restaurants (that’s Jane and Arthur). Rosier and head chef Will Lawson have used that to power a fun, approachable menu full of Italian staples. Start with a handful of plates from the 20-strong antipasti line-up; whether it’s the crudo, the octopus with salsa verde or fresh-cut prosciutto, everyone will have a favourite. (Just make sure you all have a slice or two of focaccia to swipe over everything.)

Pastas, like the antipasti, will change seasonally: right now, for example, the pesto that coats the mafalde corte is made with cavolo nero rather than basil. Every major pasta dish archetype is covered – from spaghetti with pippies and gnochetti with prawns, to a pappardelle with pork sausage ragu. The team here makes around 18 kilos of pasta an hour, and all pasta dishes come in half and full serves, which makes them good on their own or a handy companion to one of the heftier mains, like market fish or an 800-gram rib eye.

Desserts include classic pana cotta and tiramisu, but really, it would be a waste not to get a scoop of house-made gelato from the roaming gelato cart. It’s a cute and beautiful little thing with four pozetti filled with a rotating roster of flavours.

Fior is L-shaped, and a substantial part of the room is given over to the bar area, which doubles as the antipasti station. Cocktail-wise, there’s a Cinque Terre Margarita, a strawberry-infused spritz and a dulce de leche-enhanced Espresso Martini. The seating up at the bar is bound to be hot property, particularly for Fior’s aperitivo hour. From 4pm till 5pm each night, select beer, wines and cocktails will be a sweet steal and available alongside a small range of aperitivi – like $2 oysters, Saison salami and pumpkin and taleggio arancini.

Contact Details

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Updated: May 4th, 2024

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