With a growing posse of big name Sydney restaurants shutting up shop like some giant end of financial year clearance, the looming shake-up of the city's established chef hatted restaurants appears sadly set to also include a rising star.
Natalia Gaspari, Peter Conistis' talented lieutenant at Alpha, wowed the critics and picked up a toque in her first year at Ble Restaurant in Ramsgate.
Now Gaspari has packed her bags and left town, Ble shutting its doors.
The queen of lobster and haloumi ravioli says "the (working) partnership didn't work out as well as I'd hoped it would" and has relocated to Melbourne where she plans to open her own restaurant.
It has been a tough year for Sydney restaurants, with Bridge Room and Sotto Sopra among the already departed, Longrain, Billy Kwong, ACME and Oscillate Wildly to follow.
They are closing for a variety of reasons, but the bottom line is Sydney will be poorer for the departures.
A sign on the Ble shopfront says it'll reopen, but Gaspari says she won't be in the kitchen as part of any reboot of the space.