The Sydney suburb of Surry Hills is well known as a foodie destination – some of the city’s most innovative restaurants can be found here. Tucked away in a back street is NOMAD, reopened in November 2020 after an electrical fire decimated it in 2019, the new restaurant has a familiar feel and the same commitment to local produce, but with some innovative new surprises.
In with the new
For anyone that visited NOMAD before the fire, the new space will be instantly recognisable. The interior has the same light-wood furniture, but with the addition of green leather banquette seating. The main features of the restaurant, the woodfired oven and charcoal grill, are now twice the size. And the kitchen counter remains the best seat in the house to see chef Jacqui Challinor in action.
Challinor began her career as an apprentice at About Life, one of Sydney’s original organic cafés, before joining the team at Merivale. She then worked at Mad Cow and the French bistro and brasserie Felix, before winning her first head chef role at the fine dining Greek restaurant, Xanthi. She joined NOMAD in 2013.
Challinor was drawn to the opportunity of working with the woodfired oven at NOMAD and has since developed a menu which focuses on Mediterranean-style share dishes and house-made produce. The dishes are inspired by her travels through Spain, Morocco and the Middle East.
Cooking with fire
With the new opening has come a new menu, but there a are few classics from the old menu that remain, like the raw Hiramasa kingfish and the truffle-honey-pecorino zucchini flowers. The menu now also features a broader range of house-cured charcuterie and there’s more focus than ever on woodfired and charcoal-grilled dishes.
There’s wood roasted eggplant with toasted olive seeds, burnt butter and flatbread, wood roasted Stix Farm baby beetroot with almond and sweet and sour currants, as well as date glazed wagyu tongue with baharat and tahini.
For dessert, the olive-oil ice-cream sandwich with halva, pistachio and honey is the standout dish, but the strawberry, sumac and macadamia pavlova or Turkish coffee tiramisu are also just as delicious as they sound.
Challinor acknowledges that some of the world’s finest produce and best wine is found in Australia and she sources many of the ingredients used at NOMAD from small growers who share her passion for quality and sustainability. The wine list also features varieties from small Australian growers and a few international winemakers who use sustainable practises.
Another addition to the new space is the NOMAD Deli which offers take-home products that change weekly. You can expect to find a broad selection of house-cured meats, dips and preserves. There’s also chocolate fudge brownies and cookie dough that you can cook at home for that fresh out of the oven gooeyness. There’s the opportunity to buy a few bottles from the restaurant’s wine list, too.
Address: 16 Foster St, 2010 Surry Hills, NSW
Monday – Thursday | 6 – 9.30pm
Friday – Saturday | 12 – 4pm and 5 – 10pm
Sunday | 12 – 8.30pm