Sofia restaurant opens in Redfern on October 5, named after the grandmother of one of its owners.
Sofia adds to a flurry of recent Sydney restaurant monikers in honour of family members, including Margaret, Jane, Manon, Lola’s, Ursula’s and (as of last week) RAFI.
But it’s another name that’ll catch the attention of veteran diners: chef Justin North. Sofia, which slides into the redeveloped space above Bar Cleveland, is a collaboration between its owners, Sophie and Con Bousgas, and the former Becasse chef. And North has been involved from the beginning.
“We got talking a few years ago. They had this fantastic space they wanted to turn into a restaurant, and while COVID delayed it, I’ve been involved in the whole process,” North says.
The first step was to call on designer Tamara Prochnik from Stomp Studio and builder-craftsman Heath Dyer, who tackled the heritage space without tampering with its grand bones. The modern update includes a rusty orange banquette, white tabletops and the new-old touch of curtains.
North and head chef Nathan Treleaven took the Greek lineage of the Bousgas family as a starting point, but its culinary tentacles spread further. “It’s a Mediterranean grill,” North says.
Warm olives are paired with tomato, rosemary and orange, grilled octopus and charred chorizo is topped with a romesco sauce, and the beef tartare has some of North’s former fine dining pedigree, a garlic emulsion.
Its hero dish mixes chargrilled lamb ribs, pomegranate and cured ocean trout mixed with olive oil from the Bousgas’ olive groves in Greece.
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North has his finger in a number of food openings, including a chicken shop in Noosaville, and believes Cleveland Street is set for a revival.
“You can feel it on the street, and Fink Group is opening a new restaurant a block away.”
Open Fri-Sun lunch; Wed-Sun dinner.
433 Cleveland Street, Redfern, sofiaoncleveland.com.au

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