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Introducing Applejack Hospitality’s New Restaurant and Bar, RAFI

RAFI Sydney, the stylish newcomer to North Sydney.

Applejack Hospitality is delighted to announce full details of their new North Sydney venue, opening in late September. Set to rejuvenate the North Sydney business district, RAFI is a vibrant, contemporary multidimensional 300-seat restaurant and bar located on Mount Street. Drawing from Applejack Hospitality’s owners Ben Carroll and Hamish Watts wealth of experience in opening and operating venues, the team has curated a truly unique offering that is set to ignite the North Sydney culinary scene with playful interiors, vast al fresco areas, simple yet experimental food, world-class drinks, and warm service.

Applejack Head of Culinary Patrick Friesen has appointed Executive Head Chef Matias Cilloniz, who comes to Sydney from Peru to lead the kitchen. Cilloniz studied Gastronomy and Culinary Arts at Le Cordon Bleu before working for Four Seasons & Hilton Hotels in the USA & Australia. On his return to Peru, Cilloniz worked at one of ‘The World’s 50 Best Restaurants’, Central Restaurant, alongside Chefs Virgilio Martínez and Pía León, as well as undertaking internships at 2 Michelin star restaurants Paco Roncero’s in Madrid and 42 Grams in Chicago. At RAFI the menu will be fresh and seasonal, inspired by the coastal elements of Sydney, along with the abundance of colourful produce available to the region. RAFI will specialise in sustainably sourced seafood and vegetables cooked over charcoal, presented on small plates for the customer to mix and match different combinations of dishes. Highlights include raw south coast tuna, cucumber, avocado and fresh yuzu; crispy potatoes, sea urchin, cultured cream and chives; steamed beans and peas with cured egg yolk and schmaltz; grilled glacier 51 toothfish with chickpea miso, fresh chickpeas and chilli; and dry aged duck crown with fresh plum and mustard leaves.

Cilloniz says, Rafi is all about enjoyment in a respectful way. Our food is meant to surprise and nourish with simple dishes creatively combined to be as tasty, nutritious, and sustainable as possible. Our team is focused on delivering an amazing experience starting at sourcing our produce with care to pouring a glass of wine, honoring the produce, the producers, and our team, while our guests enjoy themselves.”

The beverage offering is masterminded by Applejack Group Bars Manager Lachy Sturrock and Group Sommelier Amandine Rouviere. Bright and creative cocktails sit alongside a handpicked selection of local beers on tap, and a well-constructed wine list, featuring a strong representation of local wineries by the glass, all showcased in a large industrial style glass wine store.

Leading design firm Luchetti Krelle, a long-standing collaborator on Applejack venues, led the interiors across the multidimensional venue. Applejack encouraged a layered approach with no two spaces the same. Key areas comprise of a large custom made, geometric island bar that connects the main dining room, a semi-al fresco glass house named The Arbor, wrap around outdoor tree lined terrace filled with foliage, a private dining room, and a Chef’s Kitchen that will play host to exclusive, bespoke experiences.

Walls are rendered and floor to ceiling aneeta windows and sliding glass doors create an abundance of light throughout. Floors consist of a mix of real stone and marble mosaic, custom timber parquetry, granite, and terracotta tiles throughout the various areas. Patterned tones of mustard orange, dark wood and pastels are fresh and inviting. Fabric by Walmajarri Aboriginal artist, Jimmy Pike, which takes flora and fauna inspiration unique to his Australian desert life, adorn bar stools. In the main dining room custom curved banquettes with rolled edges have playful graphic black and white fabric with tan leather detailing. Timber and woven rush seats are imported from Italy, and there are custom Marmoleum and timber tables. Outdoors on the terrace is a European ambiance, with custom white metal gates, the light and bright central glass house structure The Arbor, striped fabric banquettes, coloured umbrellas, custom printed tile tabletops, lounges, private outdoor gazebos with festoon lighting and an abundance of hanging plants and greenery.

Krelle comments, “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. The hope is that you have fun.”

After a turbulent few years for the world, Applejack hopes RAFI inspires a bright future where dining out is approached with a child-like awe and wonder, encouraging everyone involved from staff to suppliers to customers to do things differently, and have varied perspectives.

Carroll says, “Born and bred in the North, North Sydney was where I fell in love with hospitality, so the area has special significance for me. With RAFI we want to put North Sydney back on the centre stage, with a world class restaurant in a setting to match. The honesty and passion of our people at Applejack is all about connection, and 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.”

Reservations for RAFI are now open for a limited number of guests, including for Melbourne Cup lunch or Christmas parties. The various spaces allow for every occasion from a spritz and oysters on the terrace to a chef’s choice banquet in the dining room, or an impressive private event. Be one of the first to experience the hospitality and warmth Applejack are known for at their latest exciting venue!