Former Marque chef opens debut Sydney restaurant

New venture: Former Marque chef, Pasi Petanen.
New venture: Former Marque chef, Pasi Petanen. Photo: Marco Del Grande

East Sydney's re-emergence as a dining hub will be boosted when former Marque head chef Pasi Petanen opens a restaurant in the Cafe Pacifico site on Riley Street at the end of the month.

The long-awaited debut restaurant from one of Sydney's emerging kitchen talents has faced a number of hurdles. The chef was scheduled to open in Surry Hills, not far from Marque, before he ran into issues with that site. Cafe Pacifico won't be his long-term home.

''We have a year's lease, so it'll be a one-year pop-up,'' he says. ''It's a bit like camping.''

To that end, he'll simply alter the Cafe Pacifico moniker rather than renaming it.

''We'll just cross part of it out so it is called Cafe Paci, that's close enough to my name [Pasi],'' he says.

It'll operate a set menu, and Petanen is already planning a tribute to Cafe Pacifico's Mexican past with his version of tacos, made with rye. He's also working on another playful new dish.

''I'm calling it pho-tato,'' he says.