The redevelopment of the waterfront Campbell's Stores building at Circular Quay has hit a major snag, with key incoming chef-restaurateur Nino Zoccali jettisoning the project and pursuing legal action.
Zoccali, the owner of the chef's hatted Restaurant Pendolino in Sydney's CBD, says he's pulled the plug on Venetian Republic, which was slated to open late 2018.
Zoccali refused to comment on the reasons behind the split beyond a statement which confirmed he will take legal action and claims the restaurant fell over "due to circumstances beyond our control".
Developer Tallawoladah has been noticeably tight-lipped about the broader tenant signings at Campbell's Stores.
The $32 million redevelopment of the historic building has been on the shopping list for a who's who of Sydney hospitality players.
Despite the radio silence, Good Food hears former Sushi-e head chef Nobuyuki Ura is plotting a Japanese restaurant at Campbell's Stores.
A high-profile Hong Kong chef, backed by the Lotus Group, has also been making his way through Sydney in recent weeks, and it's believed he'll front a Cantonese restaurant with strong seafood leaning at the redeveloped site.
That restaurant will open before Chinese New Year in 2019.
The crew behind newly opened The Pacific Club Bondi Beach will also open at Campbell's Stores, the project believed to have a strong contemporary Australian concept and a top designer attached to it.
One of Sydney's high-profile Greek operators has also been in negotiations with Tallawoladah, but it's unclear where those negotiations stand.