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Justin North Has Opened His New Greek-Inspired Restaurant Sofia Above Bar Cleveland in Surry Hills

The grill is firing at this new southern-Mediterranean diner.
By Ben Hansen
November 28, 2022
By Ben Hansen
November 28, 2022

Sophie and Con Bousgas, the owners of the longstanding Surry Hills pub Bar Cleveland, have brought in an exciting new face to reinvigorate the space above the Sydney stalwart. Renowned chef Justin North has moved into the second-floor space on Cleveland Street with his new homely Mediterranean diner Sofia.

Inspired by Greek cuisine, Sofia utilises Bar Cleveland's existing grill and its reputation as an inviting community-minded spot to present home-style southern Mediterranean food that champions fresh local produce.

"The focus for Sofia was really to create a place for locals to enjoy fresh, Mediterranean-inspired dishes and a drink or two, honouring good quality cooking, hospitality, and a shared experience," says North.

Guests are welcomed into the newly renovated space within the historic 1800s-built building.

"The building really dictated what the design needed to be," says Sophie Bousgas. "We wanted to restore and showcase the natural bones of the building to help tell the story of Sofia."

Once settled in the dining room, surrounded by light breezy tones and exposed brick, you'll be presented with a menu centred predominantly around snacky share plates partnered with a few larger dishes.

Highlights from the kitchen include chargrilled eggplant salad, pomegranate-cured ocean trout and beef tartare with a garlic emulsion. The grill is being kept busy, with grilled garlic king prawns, flat-iron wagyu, cauliflower, octopus and chorizo all making appearances across the menu. And, if you're heading in with a group, you can choose from three shared mains including an 800-gram MBS4+ bistecca steak — all ready to be placed in the centre of the table.

The wine list is filled with reliable drops, and the cocktail menu is made up of classics alongside playful twists like a mango and lime gelato-infused number and the Noah's Arc, a Turkish Delight-inspired creation.

Sofia is located at Level 1, 433 Cleveland Street Surry Hills. It's open 5.30–10pm Wednesday–Thursday and midday–2.30pm and 5.30–10pm Friday–Sunday.

Published on November 28, 2022 by Ben Hansen
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