Riley Street Garage
55 Riley Street, Wooloomooloo, NSW
02 9326 9055
In a backstreet of Woolloomooloo, you’ll find a playground of fine food and cocktails, housed in an historical art-deco garage.
Riley Street Garage is the concept of Brody Petersen and Bay Kilpatrick, of The Parlour Group. The men behind many of Sydney’s favourite venues, including The Flying Squirrel Tapas Parlour, The Stuffed Beaver, Surlys BBQ & Beer and The Village Inn, their search for a new and bigger venue uncovered an art-deco shell of a building on the edge of Sydney’s CBD. It laid the foundation for Riley Street Garage, and soon its concept began to take shape.
Established in 1934 as a full service garage known locally as Lessey’s Garage, the building was full of quirky features and original industrial warehouse elements. Its transformation into a restaurant required a refined approach, and architect Richard Alexander of RAD Studios was enlisted to make it shine. Harnessing inspiration from both the glamour of the art-deco era and the warehouses of New York’s Meatpacking district, Richard balanced the raw brick walls and ornate steel beams with luxe design finishes – rich leathers, and brass and copper detailing. The focus of the space is a huge, brass, oval- shaped bar, made to seat 30 diners. It’s a feature in line with Brody’s motto: “I’d rather eat in a bar then drink in a restaurant”.
Brody brought on board Executive Chef, Regan Porteous, to create a modern Australian menu befitting the beautiful space. Regan’s experience spans fine dining restaurants across the world, including London’s Maze and renowned Japanese restaurant Zuma, for which he manned the pass at outposts in London, Hong Kong and Dubai. Designed to share, his menu highlights the finest quality produce sourced locally throughout New South Wales, with a hint of his expertise in Japanese cuisine.
The quality of the produce is showcased at the Riley Street Garage Oyster Bar, where oysters are shucked to order and served with lemon, mignonette or smoky soy truffle. They’re best accompanied by a champagne or whisky. Once you’re ready for the main event, order the share plates to experience the full flavours on offer. Try the seared beef carpaccio dressed in soy vinegar with shiitake and squid ink mayonnaise, or the maple-glazed sweet potato with pepita dukkah and labne. Whatever you do though, don’t miss the crispy pork knuckle with soy and seeded mustard.
In the mood for something larger? Go for the chargrilled baby snapper accompanied by clams and caper raisins, or the slow-cooked lamb shoulder with dijon gremolata. Regan’s love of Japanese fare is evident in every dish, boasting a moreish umami flavour.
Riley Street Garage is as much about the drinks as it is about the food. Opt for a cocktail such as the Lessey’s Concept – inspired by the building’s origins, it treads a line between a negroni and an old fashioned with a mix of Bulleit bourbon, Campari, apricot brandy, lemon and grapefruit oils. Connoisseurs of whisky (and whiskey) will love the extensive drinks list, as will fans of wine, tequila and specialty spirits.
With an equal focus on drinks and delicious food, Riley Street Garage has revved up its historic space, ready to refuel hungry customers with fine fare and a good time.