Ozgur Sefkatli has been working on opening his city restaurant for the past year. The final piece of the puzzle – the furniture – arrived at 11am on March 23.
"An hour later the restrictions came in, restaurants were closing everywhere," he explains.
The timing couldn't have been worse, Sefkatli and his business partner Eddie Topuzlu (who also owns The Factory Grind in Surry Hills) went into a huddle and then decided to push on with the opening of Above Par.
The Middle Eastern bistro has popped up at Clarence Street in the city, on a strip Sefkatli says has four temporarily shuttered food neighbours.
"We've had to tweak the menu from a bistro to a cafe doing takeaway. We've put gozleme and a kafte burger on. There are still 20 people working in the office building we're in, and they've been really supportive," he says.
Sefkatli, who has a wide-ranging CV, including a short stint at Anason restaurant at Barangaroo, will use the period to test-drive the kitchen before rolling out the bistro menu. But he concedes it could be a few months before customers get in to sit on his shiny new restaurant chairs.