Nomad’s fire-charged, produce-first cooking turned many heads back in 2013 when it burst onto the scene. Eight years later and the grill has doubled in size, as has the wine list, while the commitment to sustainability has never been stronger. Plenty more reasons to go – if you needed them.
The nuts & bolts
Function spaces: 26 guests
This slick Surry Hills dining destination has dealt with its fair share of crises over the past couple of years. In addition to weathering COVID-19 lockdowns, an electrical fire in late 2019 forced a renovation (and temporary location change). In October 2020, Nomad returned to its Foster Street site, bringing with it a renewed focus on sustainability.
Nomad director and co-owner Rebecca Yazbek says the venue is ramping up its eco-credentials. “We are removing all plastics from our operations,” she says, “and continuing to work with our suppliers to ensure every product that goes on our menu or enters our dining room meets our high expectations in this regard.”
The 180-seat eatery opened to great acclaim in 2013, earning a reputation for superb Middle Eastern-leaning share plates with a luxury edge (even today, there’s saffron in the butter and caviar on the oysters). Regulars might be pressed to spot the difference, although a glance over the bar to the open kitchen tells us that the wood-fired grill is twice as big as it used to be. “Our grill and wood-fired oven are getting a workout,” says Yazbek. “The chefs are currently cold smoking mussels, and they are very happy about it!”
Ged Bellis has been the restaurant’s wine director since 2019. He shook up the list when he joined the team, adding imports to an offering that still revolves around Australian producers, with a particular focus on small growers that lean sustainable. “With the exception of some Champagne, all our glass selections are Australian,” he says. Bellis showcases up-and-coming producers, as well as some of the country’s most iconic makers, on a list that’s nearly doubled in size.
“The list is still 50 per cent Australian,” he says, and anything coming in from abroad must be top quality — you won’t find any cheap French rosés, for example. “Our most represented varieties are chardonnay and pinot noir, both of which we are obsessed with.” Expect to see Burgundy from Village to Grand Cru alongside some hard-to-find bottles from Santa Rita Hills and the Sonoma Coast in California.
What’s next for the Nomad team? Nomad Melbourne is due to open mid-November 2021 in the old Ezard site on Flinders Lane, underneath the Adelphi Hotel. Sydney-based head chef Jacqui Challinor will soon oversee both cities as executive chef. Watch that space.