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RAFI North Sydney

This multi-space venue has something for everyone, in the heart of North Sydney.
By Ben Hansen
October 26, 2022
By Ben Hansen
October 26, 2022

Boasting space for 300, RAFI is an expansive North Shore venue delivering a sleek after-work and weekend go-to with multiple weather-proof indoor and al fresco areas. The impressive bar and eatery comes from Applejack Hospitality, the hospitality group behind beloved venues like The Butler and Forrester's.

Some of RAFI's many different spaces include a semi-al fresco glasshouse coined The Arbor which connects to the large indoor dining room with a geometric island bar, stocked and ready to make a variety of bright cocktails, as well as 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 set in the centre of the North Sydney highrises.

Highlights of the fitout include floor-to-ceiling windows and marble mosaics set within the floors. The bar stools are adorned with fabric designed by Walmajarri Aboriginal artist Jimmy Pike, who has taken inspiration from the flora and fauna of outback Australia.

"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 elements. The Arbor's terrace features a European-inspired vision of striped fabric banquettes, coloured umbrellas, private outdoor gazebos and plenty of foliage.

The food offering showcases local seafood and fresh veggies cooked over the kitchen's charcoal grill. Scallops paired with pickled turnip, ponzu and wasabi ($24), grilled lobster (market price), crispy lamb ribs ($42) and honey- and chilli-infused eggplant ($21) are just a few of the inventive dishes on 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."

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.

Images: Steven Woodburn

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