Isaac restaurant is a fresh new take on some of Sydney’s favourite flavours. The Redfern restaurants combination of Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisine creates a fancy, yet familiar approach to dining.
“It’s Italian, Syrian and Australian Cuisine, Isaac.” Says Natasha Battikha, Co-owner and partner of Riccardo Roberti. The pair also own one of Sydney’s Italian darlings, Tinello. Isaac however was always the end goal. “This was the one that we always really wanted to do.” Natasha explains.
Chef, Samuel Bull, is the captain at the helm of Isaac. Formerly of North Bondi Italian, Bull knows his way around Italian cuisine. However as he explains to ‘Grub’, and much like co-owner Riccardo, it’s their wives and their Egyptian and Syrian roots respectively, that play a big role in creating Isaac.
“For me sharing a meal with your family and friends is the key, when people break bread they are at their happiest, and I wanted that to be the same for Isaac.” Samuel
One look at the star, Lamb Ragu pasta bake ($28), and you understand the luxurious yet familiar comfort that Isaac Restaurant offers. Large shells of pasta filled with a lamb ragu that is the covered in fontina fonduta and Grana Padano and you can feel the hug from the family. The dish is luxuriously stuffed with flavour and feels hearty and familiar.
“We can’t keep up with that dish.” Natasha tells of its popularity.
Other stars on the menu are the ‘Zampone’, Cotechino with lentils ($16) and the Buffalo Haloumi ($21), which is sourced from Byron Bay, and is amazingly light for a haloumi, paired with the sweetness of the honeycomb. Other dishes showcase the Middle Eastern flavours a little bit more prominently, such as like the Iraqi Spiced Chicken ($28). The wine list is tight and affordable, curated by ex-hubert sommelier Dennis Roman, as well as a potent list of cocktails which is sure to go down a treat with Sydneysiders.
“We didn’t want to go too crazy with our drinks, stuff that’s nice that people like. We don’t plan on charging $22 a cocktail.” Says Natasha.
The dessert department isn’t lacking either; with beautiful fusion dishes such as the Isaac’s Cannoli ($15) with cardamom spiced cardamom and the Strawberries and Cream panacotta with a rose syrup sauce ($15). Both of which are delicious examples of Isaac’s dedication to combining Mediterranean and Middle Eastern flavours together in a Modern Australian way.
“It’s trying to bring the Baklava and the Cannoli together” Bull explains of the Cannoli, and inadvertently sums up the entire Isaac experience.
The fit out is clean, approachable and luxurious, Natasha and Riccardo worked together with design firm Sketchlab to create something that would be comfortable enough for r, anytime of the day. The dark wiry tables contrast well against the white timber panelled walls jigsaw marble floors and concrete wrap around bar space. The mixture of materials is much like the combination of cultures at Isaac.
“We wanted something that would work really nice through the day and become more intimate for dinner.” Explains Natasha.
In the future the team at Isaac are planning to do a little bit of a Negroni themed session through the later stages of the afternoon as well as plans to expand in to an Iraqi themed breakfast also in the works.
Isaac feels like a big, sophisticated family hug. Instead of it being welcomed to the neighbourhood, Isaac is welcoming the neighbourhood to come through its doors and taste the taste of their family.
Isaac Restaurant 99 Redfern Street, Redfern Mon to Sun 12pm–10pm
(02) 9699 3710