Aiming high: Peter Conistis, nursing his top-selling three cheese pie, opens a foodstore.
Aiming high: Peter Conistis, nursing his top-selling three cheese pie, opens a foodstore.

Omega restaurant's closure in 2007 cost chef Peter Conistis his business and dented his reputation, but the chef is ready to take another shot at top-end Sydney dining, opening a fine-dining restaurant upstairs from his mid-market Alpha restaurant in the middle of the year.

''We've already started preliminary work, but it doesn't have a name yet,'' he says.

While the rest of town is stampeding the mid-market, Conistis believes there is still a place for gastro temples. With the success of Alpha, which set a record when it served 2500 customers in a week just before Christmas, Conistis has some serious brownie points with his backers, The Hellenic Club.

Rumours circulated over Christmas the chef was about to take up an offer elsewhere.

''I've had a few approaches since we opened,'' he says. But he wants to stay put, with other pieces of the giant Greek puzzle he is building falling into place.

He's opened a foodstore next door to Alpha, which does a big trade in Greek sweets and pies, the top-selling being the three cheese pie.

The complex is starting to live up to its tag as the ''Greek Ivy'', which is fitting given one of the rumours on Sydney eat streets was Merivale had the chef in its sights.