What do you get when you rally together some of the city's finest makers, chefs and cocktail-shakers and drop them into one industrial hub? You get South Eveleigh: once a collection of old railway sheds, now a regenerated, buzzing dining and drinking destination. The area's old heritage buildings have been preserved and its historic façades will now play host to an up-and-coming food hub.
Rara Ramen has opened up a tiny outlet called Rara Chan which specialises in tsukemen, a style of thick noodle ramen where toppings are served in a separate bowl to the broth. Vietnamese dishes get some representation with Eat Fuh, which makes – you guessed it – a mean pho, along with a range of Vietnamese dishes like a lemongrass pork belly noodle salad and bahn mi. Also already open? Fast-casual, Japanese-inspired salad bar Fishbowl is also in the South Eveleigh lineup, as is casual Egyptian-fusion restaurant Bekya, and Famous Fish, a new outpost of the humble eatery that first opened its doors in 1958.
Time for a drink? In collaboration with Maurice Terzini, cocktail top gun Matt Whiley is heading up Re, a self-billed 'no-waste' cocktail bar which will engage sustainable practices in all aspects of its operation, from its menu, to how its produce is sourced, to its interior materials and décor. Whiley, whose name you might recognise from his time at Scout, a London import from above the Dolphin Hotel in Surry Hills, where he mixed avant-garde drinks like 'Avo on Toast' and served inventive, house-fermented 'fruit wines'.
In May, foodie icon Kylie Kwong will be setting up her new outpost in the Locomotive Workshops: expect a more relaxed offering than her previous Potts Point restaurant Billy Kwong, but with a crossover of some key aspects, such as her inventive use of native ingredients in traditional Cantonese cuisine. Lucky for her, she can walk right down to the South Eveleigh Community Rooftop Garden, headed up by Jiwah, an Indigenous cultural and landscape design firm run by Clarence Slockee, where edible plants will be grown for use by venues in the precinct. It's important to recognise that amidst all this development and activity, the area, which borders Alexandria and Redfern, is one of significance for First Nations people – the community garden recognises that, by allowing a space for education on native plants and grounds for the plants themselves to flourish.