Applejack Hospitality to bring fancy food to Sydney’s first surf park

Applejack Hospitality to bring fancy food to Sydney’s first surf park

Applejack Hospitality, behind hatted North Sydney restaurant Rafi, reveals the details of its biggest project to date – inside a Western Sydney urban surf park.

Bianca Hrovat

Hatted North Sydney restaurant Rafi will take theme-park food into fine-dining territory when it opens a second location at Sydney’s first machine-made surf park, Urbnsurf, at Sydney Olympic Park on Thursday, July 25.

Urbnsurf has been using its modular electromechanical system to churn out perfect waves in Western Sydney since May 13, and Rafi Urbnsurf will overlook all the action from its second-floor dining room and rooftop terrace.

It’s a 165-seat contemporary Australian restaurant from hospitality group Applejack (Forrester’s, Taphouse), with a seafood-forward menu of seasonal Australian produce inspired by the faux-coastal setting.

New dishes from Rafi executive chef Matias Cilloniz and group culinary director Patrick Friesen include grilled lobster with aji amarillo and cultured butter buerre blanc ($MP), wild Port Lincoln sardines with olive oil and fennel pollen ($14), and Pure Black barley fed Angus flank with chimichurri sauce ($65).

They join a line-up of best-selling Rafi dishes, including the raw seafood platter with Sydney rock oysters, yellowfin tuna, kingfish and trevally ($57) and the crispy eggplant, with spices, honey and herbs ($20).

Rafi’s fregola fizz cocktail will also come along, adding to a beachy cocktail menu with oyster martinis.

The food spread at Rafi Urbnsurf, including the braised lamb shoulder, steamed barramundi and sourdough wholemeal pita bread.
The food spread at Rafi Urbnsurf, including the braised lamb shoulder, steamed barramundi and sourdough wholemeal pita bread.

“Our goal is to create a dining experience that’s just as memorable as the waves,” Patrick Friesen, Applejack’s culinary director, tells Good Food.

“[There will be] light, bright, [and] vibrant coastal food … taking inspiration from our local farmers, fishers and producers.

“We’re committed to offering our guests something truly special that captures the essence of the surf culture, while maintaining our Applejack restaurant standard.”

The dining room, function room and private dining room are designed by Luchetti Krelle, and feature earthy tones, mid-century furniture and warm wood panelling. They sit on the second floor, above Applejack’s first Urbnsurf venue, Sandy’s.

The dining room at Rafi Urbnsurf.
The dining room at Rafi Urbnsurf.

Sandy’s is a casual surfside eatery, serving cafe fare and tropical cocktails, which opened at the same time as the 3.2 hectare surf park.

Unlike Sandy’s, Rafi Urbnsurf will be accessible without purchasing park entry.

“With … Sandy’s downstairs, we can offer guests at Urbnsurf Sydney every dining experience they require, be it a quick snack between surf breaks, a long luxurious lunch, evening cocktails, corporate event or a special dinner,” Carroll says.

The cafe will also provide takeaway options and service to the nearby event lawns and private poolside cabanas.

Rooftop dining at Rafi Urbnsurf.
Rooftop dining at Rafi Urbnsurf.

Perfect, year-round waves, plus an on-site surf academy, a 20-metre leisure pool, an eight-metre kids’ pool and a skate park are expected to attract upwards of 1000 visitors each day to Urbnsurf.

Homebush Park will be the second Urbnsurf in Australia. The first venue, which opened at Tullamarine near Melbourne Airport in 2020, is catered by Three Blue Ducks.

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