Popina restaurant at Circular Quay was one of the more eclectic culinary pairings of 2016, a quirky co-production between the Italian-leaning Salt Meats Cheese and North Bondi's Shuk cafe. But that business partnership is over and the city restaurant it produced is about to be put on the scrap heap after just seven months. Massimo Mele, the former Hugos and La Scala chef, will oversee the transformation, joining the restaurant as a co-owner.
"Shuk is no longer involved, it was finalised in the last few days," Mele tells Good Food. "We'll bring the restaurant in line with the rest of Salt Meats Cheese."
Popina's brush stroke of Turkish, Lebanese, Israeli and Argentinian cuisines will make way for a more Italian focus. Mele and head chef James Roberts have started toying with the menu and on August 1 the venue will relaunch as Salt Meats Cheese Sydney with a tweaked interior. "It'll be the flagship location," Mele says. "We want to get back to what they [SMC] were doing originally with attention to detail and freshly made pasta."