Charity cafe and restaurant coming to Surry Hills

Matthew Byrne, David Poirer, Rachel Grisewood and Sam Gabrielian at Gratia in Surry Hills.
Matthew Byrne, David Poirer, Rachel Grisewood and Sam Gabrielian at Gratia in Surry Hills. Photo: Cole Bennetts

The little Aussie blue note mightn't stretch as far as it once did at Darlinghurst's Ten Buck Alley, but you'd be surprised what it might buy at a new restaurant and café opening next month on the corner of Bourke and Albion Streets in Surry Hills.

"The $10 price of our organic yoghurt flatbread with feta, pine nuts and pomegranate dressing can support a child living with HIV in Uganda at school for a month," says financier Matthew Byrne.

A social enterprise cafe and restaurant [called Gratia and Folonomo respectively] will open in a fortnight alongside an art gallery, 100 per cent of profits headed back to not-for-profit organisations. 

A posse of specialists including lighting designers Malaya Blonde, have helped nurse the project. Restaurateur David Poirier, pictured with Byrne and chef Rachel Grisewood, is part of the start-up team.

"Our menu will focus on a celebration of Australia's rich multicultural diversity – focus on the tastes and flavours that we share a love for rather than the myopic issues that divide us," says Byrne, a financial adviser who is underwriting the project.

"I saw a lot of people in my world with a lot of money that weren't happy," he says of the motivation behind the start-up.

He explains 50 per cent of profits will go toward the restaurant's own foundation, supporting the homeless among others, while diners will also be able to nominate a charity of their own choice for the other half of profits.