When the 43-year-old Balkan Seafood Restaurant ditched its Oxford Street digs in 2019, the once-popular Darlinghurst stretch of the famed eat street was on its knees.
Last year's opening of Paski Vineria Popolare and Cafe Freda's signalled a step in the right direction. Now the big hospo players are starting to pile in, with Prince of York and Pamela's owner Paul Schulte set to join the party.
Schulte, the one-time partner and creative director at industry heavyweight Keystone, confirms he has snapped up the site of Aus-African restaurant The Moshen, at 245 Oxford Street.
"It's a couple of doors down from Paski," he says.
The yet-to-be-named restaurant, which will open in late 2022, is part of an opening volley from Schulte's new hospitality group Hunger, aimed at spotting and supporting emerging talent.
The Darlo project will be fronted by chef Adam Burke, best known to Sydneysiders as executive chef at Manly's Sunset Sabi and Chica Bonita.
"He also opened Toko Dubai and worked for Gordon Ramsay. I want to work with people like Adam, help them to set up businesses," says Schulte, who is also working on venue start-ups in Rosebery and the Hunter Valley.
"We haven't finalised a name [for the Oxford Street venue] but the food will be Japanese and experimental. It'll also be a bit of a spin-off of Pamela's. While the ground floor will be food and drinks, upstairs will be a 'party' bar."
It isn't the only incoming arrival on the strip. The grand old building where Don Peppino's (and The Grand Pacific Blue Room before it) traded is in the midst of redevelopment as a boutique hotel.
When it opens later this year, the hotel will include a rooftop restaurant and bar designed by Acme & Co, the outfit behind Mimi's in Coogee.