A free-spirit studying psychology at the University of Sydney.
Published August 1st 2018
When a restobar becomes a worldclass destination
Located on the shores of Botany Bay in Brighton Le Sands, Republiq is well on the way to becoming one of those places that transcend just serving good food, to one where ambience, setting and food combine to make a very special experience.
Welcome to RQ, where Grilled Octopus is served on a slab of rock salt
In its sixth week since opening, the bar, grill and shisha lounge is sure to continue blossoming into the summer. It will be bliss with the large bifold windows opening up to welcome a warm breeze and salty ocean air.
It sits right on the sandy shoreline, before the sea baths, and is divided into three areas - the upstairs shisha and dessert lounge, downstairs bar and grill, and an alfresco deck area. The vibrant seating and backdrop of muted blue was gorgeous come dusk.
One of the first things that will catch your eye on approach to the venue are the tiles lining the stairs up to the glass doors, making for beautiful photos. But this is nothing compared to what sits through the entry. The colourful patterned tiles adorn the floor and walls and are a combination of 85 different patterns.
Drawing design inspiration from the award-winning Llama restaurant in Copenhagen, Republiq is a product of an ambitious team that want to create a destination. With a mosaic-like appearance, these add an exotic warmth and are visually enveloping. This was just the beginning of our sensory journey at Republiq.
Shisha by the bay - and luxurious backlit marble bartops
A destination of luxury means a leisurely, drawn-out grazing session over drinks imported from around the world, fresh fruity shisha mixes, fruit cocktails, and traditional food from Lebanon, Morocco, Spain, Greece and Turkey, all with a modern spin. It's no wonder we were there for almost 5 hours, indulging, and enjoying the exceptional hospitality that met classy dining with a homely warmth.
Sparkling wine from France - beer, wine and spirits imported from locations around the world
Find the restaurant on the lower level. The visual feast continues as you dine either out on the boardwalk, right on the bay's edge, or beside the indoor aquarium of tropical fish. The spotted catfish was beyond adorable.
Head Chef Bektas Özcan has creatively curated a menu of classical dishes balanced with a contemporary flair. One could say the cuisine of the Ottoman Empire re-imagined in 21st Century Sydney. These Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisines, although different, are historically linked, sharing flavourful spices and overlapping ingredients such as pomegranate, eggplant, cucumber and parsley.
Even the kid's menu is innovative meaning the little ones get to join you in dining creatively. You'll notice favourites listed beneath each cuisine - familiar dishes such as the tabbouleh from Lebanon. However, these tend to incorporate an ingredient or two to put Republiq's unique spin on the dish and captivate you.
Perfect presentation with attention to detail in aesthetic, aroma, textures and flavours. Our dining experience was a journey across the Ottoman. To further entice your taste buds, here's what we feasted on...
Cold Meze Tray for Two - from Turkey ($24)
The cold meze plate showcased a selection of well-known favourites from Turkey and Ottoman neighbours - hummus, baba ganoush, taramasalata, mixed olives, dolma vine leaves and Morrocon spiced beetroot. Each dish had a contemporary twist.
The Morrocan spiced beetroot dip was enhanced by a subtle smoked yoghurt (a flavour we struggled to liken to anything we've had before), while the taramasalata was topped with little balls of salmon roe that give you a salty pop factor.
Fried Cauliflower (12) - from Lebanon ($12)
The fried cauliflower was cooked to perfection - topped with a delicious tahini sauce and coarsely ground nutty dukkha. It was nothing short of a big bowl of deliciousness.
Ali Nazik House Kebab - from Turkey ($29)
Chef Özcan's signature dish at Republiq and we can see why. Very removed from the typical image of a kebab, the lamb backstrap came wrapped in fine kataifi pastry (you may have seen this in Turkish desserts) was exceptionally moist and tender and sat on a bed of eggplant puree.
This alone was delicious but rose to another level of yum when the spiced burnt butter sauce was poured over it. This was perfectly accompanied by Jerusalem artichokes, char-grilled capsicum and artichoke heart.
Turkish Borek - from Turkey ($22)
The stunning borek arrived in a hot pan and was a delightful mix of thin crispy pastry sprinkled with sesame seeds and filled with a tangy blend of spinach and feta cheese. This was topped with baby beetroot leaves, delicate slices of radish and dollops of rich yoghurt.
The tabouleh presented as a bowl of finely chopped and perfectly balanced freshness and was elevated out of the ordinary with the addition of pomegranate seeds and roasted hazelnuts.
Grilled Octopus - from Turkey ($22)
If you enjoy char-grilled octopus this is a must try. Perfectly grilled octopus which is both tender and crisp is served on an impressive Himalayan rock-salt slab, together with a delicate salad and herb pesto (pictured at top).
How many times can you say "Wow" during a meal? We were very impressed with the passion and enthusiasm in the food, along with the excellent eight-page wine list combing local and imported beers, wines and spirits - not to mention it's moderately priced.
After the meal, the delicacies continued. We went upstairs to the lounge serving up fruity shisha mixes, including RQ's in-house blend featuring blueberry mint, kiwi and apple. It was light and fragrant to puff after a big meal and came with a pineapple head with fruit skewers making for a standout aesthetic.
There's always room for dessert. We were also treated to a lavish fruit platter (complete with sour worms) and mouthwatering fruit smoothies topped with Kit Kats. Yum.
Shisha mix - image courtesy of Republiq
Image courtesy of Republiq
It was a perfect drawn out dinner and after dinner delight. The experience at Republiq is nothing short of top quality, and will definitely be worth the visit from your local area.
Oh, and did I mention they do breakfast on Sunday mornings?