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North Sydney's Expansive New 300-Seat Bar and Restaurant RAFI Opens This Week

This expansive multi-faceted venue is bringing al fresco terraces, a welcoming dining room and a luxurious chef's table to the heart of North Sydney.
By Ben Hansen
September 27, 2022
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By Ben Hansen
September 27, 2022
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Applejack Hospitality, the restaurant group behind beloved venues like The Butler and Forrester's is opening an expansive new venue on Mount Street in North Sydney this Thursday, September 29. Boasting a capacity of 300 people, RAFI is set to deliver a new after-work and weekend go-to for the North Sydney business district with multiple weather-proof indoor and al fresco areas.

Some of the many different spaces across RAFI will include a semi-al fresco glasshouse coined The Arbor which will be connected to the large indoor dining room with a geometric island bar, stocked up and ready to make a variety of bright cocktails or a cup of coffee. There's also a chef's kitchen which will host a variety of intimate dining experiences led by Head Chef Matias Cilloniz, plus a greenery-filled outdoor terrace placed in the centre of the North Sydney highrises.

Highlights of RAFIs fit-out include floor-to-ceiling windows and marble mosaics within the floors. The bar stools are adorned with fabric designed by Walmajarri Aboriginal artist Jimmy Pike who has drawn from outback Australian flora and fauna in their design.

"We set out to create a space that was youthful and playful. Drawing inspiration from exuberant colours and patterns, our design reflects Applejack's energy and warmth," lead designer and longtime Applejack collaborator Luchetti Krelle said.

Outside, cosy pastel tones are replaced with bright summery designs. The Arbour's terrace features a European-inspired design based around striped fabric banquettes, coloured umbrellas, private outdoor gazebos and plenty of greenery.

Food-wise the menu will be driven by local seafood and fresh veggies cooked over the kitchen's charcoal grill. Tuna paired with tahini and chilli oil, grilled lobster, crispy lamb ribs, honey- and chilli-infused eggplant, and scallops accompanied by pickled turnip, wasabi and ponzu are just a few of the inventive dishes slated for the menu.

"Our food is meant to surprise and nourish with simple dishes creatively combined to be as tasty, nutritious, and sustainable as possible," said Cilloniz, who has arrived in Sydney from Peru to head up RAFI's kitchen. "Our team is focused on delivering an amazing experience starting at sourcing our produce with care to pouring a glass of wine, honouring the produce, the producers, and our team, while our guests enjoy themselves."

Bookings for the multi-faceted venue are now open. Whether you're looking for a North Shore catch-up on the terrace, a chef's table banquet or a private function area, there's a spot for you at RAFI.

"With RAFI we want to put North Sydney back on the centre stage, with a world-class restaurant in a setting to match," co-owner Ben Carroll says. "We want to make this venue a place where visitors, corporates and the local community can come together and feel that connection in a warm and welcoming space."

RAFI is located at 99 Mount Street, North Sydney. From Thursday, September 29, it'll be open from midday to midnight, Monday–Saturday.

Images: Steven Woodburn

Published on September 27, 2022 by Ben Hansen
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