Balmain landmark to become home of fire-cooked Argentinian food and cocktails

The Balmain landmark that has housed Efendy and L'Unico will get a larger balcony in its new guise.
The Balmain landmark that has housed Efendy and L'Unico will get a larger balcony in its new guise. Photo: Supplied

 A grand Argentinian restaurant in a landmark Balmain restaurant site that promises to be "a mix of the original Porteno and Firedoor". Yes, please. When can we book?

Michael Fegent, the restaurateur behind Esteban in the city and Paddington's Tequila Mockingbird, last year quietly snapped up the sprawling Elliott Street property where a number of venues, L'Unico and Efendy included, have operated over the decades.

Fegent, who lives locally, believes the combination of food cooked over fire and cocktails fills a gap in the Balmain market. "There are lots of pubs in the area, but not places you can go for a cocktail," he says.

He's putting plenty of thought into the concept, starting with an upcoming study trip to Argentina.

Inspiration arrives courtesy of the aforementioned Porteno and Firedoor, as well as celebrity chef Curtis Stone's Los Angeles restaurant Gwen. "Who doesn't want to eat meat and vegetables cooked over fire?" he asks.

With a late 2022 opening date, plans include a private dining room and larger balcony for the yet-to-be-named restaurant.

The timing is good. Local foodies have been rocked by a number of recent closures on the Balmain peninsula, including 22-year-old Blue Ginger and One Ford Street.