Set within the grand walls of one of Sydney’s most beautiful heritage buildings, SETA Sydney quietly but spectacularly opened its doors in December 2020, contrary to the COVID chaos.
Two years in the making, SETA is the brainchild of Wildfire and Auckland’s Cin Cin on Quay’s founder Tonči Farac, who devising the design-concept of SETA from his ancestry and Croatian upbringing.
Tonči was born in Split, Croatia and lived on the island of Korčula until he emigrated with his parents to Auckland, New Zealand.
Tonči wanted to create as his last restaurant concept a place that is close to his heart and upbringing. Seta Sydney is that place based on his ancestry as tying it with the name – Seta which means Silk in Italian as “Silk Road” undertaken by Marco Polo who has Korčula ties. To create a timeless design, Tonči appointed the exemplary talents of Dreamtime Australia designer Michael McCann (Mr Wong, Felix, Flying Fish, Victor Churchill etc).
Tasked with transforming the stunning sandstone features of the former Savings Bank – Australia’s first – dating from 1849, McCann and Tonči have blended imported, custom hand-cut marble mosaic floors, with ageless “old world” timber panelling, with solid copper designs based on Korčula and Venice with bespoke furniture, to set the scene for an elegant and timeless dining experience.
The multi-million dollar fit out sees a refined cocktail and wine bar “Il Bacaro”, “SETA Cru” a breathtaking Australian-first marble Crudo Bar (based on the Japanese Kaiseki dining) offering the best selection of raw and cooked elegantly dressed small plates to showcase the best of Australian seafood and produce, an ambient private dining room for up to 18 guests, and the recently opened bespoke “SETA Chef’s Table” where guests can experience a 12-course culinary journey at the heart of the kitchen with Executive Chef, Giovanni Astolfoni.
By Spring there will also be a “Pasticceria Cichéti bar”, “Il Giardino” garden bar outside on Barrack Street right in centre of the business and fashion district and downstairs in the three bank vaults a “Le Boliccine” exclusive premium lounge bar.
The mesmerising state-of-the-art theatre kitchen featuring the Tonči and Chef Matteo Vigotti designed and made in Italy, Veneto, Marrone cooking island suite is framed by huge vaults of Jarrah timber, to bring the art and theatricality of the dining room and cuisine to life. The Marrone Island cooking suite has, induction stoves, gas stoves, friers, pasta cookers, Plancha, Wood Fired bbq grill and underneath the whole unit 24 refrigeration drawers. The Marrone cooking island suite is 2m wide by 5.5m long and it ways just under 3 tones.
“We wanted to create a warm and inviting, la dolce vita experience which honours the culture and elegance of Split, Korčula and Venice. SETA has been designed to embrace the comfort and traditions of Italy, Venice and Korčula along with contemporary, timeless features to create a place for our guests to unwind, relax and reminisce in beautiful surroundings, celebrating the old and new of Sydney,” said Farac.
Bringing Tonči’s vision to life is Executive Chef, Giovanni Astolfoni whose passion and dedication is unwavering, boasts an impressive culinary resume, attending Gualtiero Marchesi ‘s ALMA Cooking School, where he trained under renowned Italian Chef Paolo Lopriore, working in a number of Michelin star restaurants in Italy and around the world prior to SETA.
SETA’s carefully crafted, contemporary Italian menu marries authentic Venetian and Italian culinary traditions with intricate techniques and premium Australian produce. The food of my ancestors and upbringing.
Care and attention has been put into every dish by Astolfoni with key dishes including Cichéti; a chef’s selection of small bites, Tortelli “cacio e pepe” which bursts in your mouth with sweetbread, apple and horseradish, and a contemporary reinterpretation of a Traditional Tiramisu which blends three flavours of roasted coffee beans with chocolate.
To accompany the culinary offering, SETA offers a rich and exciting wine list made up of approximately 500 labels, including six exclusive wines developed for the restaurant in collaboration with Sergio Carlei, owner of biodynamic Carlei Vineyards in Victoria.
80% of the wine list has been dedicated to Italian wines, with the delightful Ferrari Trento Italian Metodo Classico sparkling a must for all on arrival, as well as classic Italian cocktails such as Negroni’s, Spritz’s, Martini’s and 60 types of Amaro and Vermouth’s to take you through your Italian dining experience, with Bar Manager Gabrielle Barbanti creating a cocktail list using creative Italian influences.
SETA is inspired by high quality and refined elegance, paying homage to traditional recipes with a modern and sophisticated approach. A destination to be immersed in the fabric and genuine hospitality of Korčula, Split, Venice and Italy.
Tonči’s hospitality is based on forty plus years of International experience starting as a chef in London to opening in Auckland NZ with his brother Luis some of the most successful hospitality leading concepts. Tonči has been inducted in Restaurant and Hotel association of NZ Hall of Fame highest accolade of achievement in hospitality. Tonči has also consulted on hospitality Restaurant and Hotel projects from New Zealand, Dubai, Shanghai, Beijing, Hong Kong, Singapore etc. Most of his wide and varied hospitality concepts have won international recognition as being the best and the most innovative leading concepts in the country of origin.
SETA Sydney is located at 11 Barrack Street, Sydney, (+612) 9262 2624.
Trading hours – Restaurant:
LUNCH: Tuesday – Friday 12pm – 3pm
DINNER: Tuesday – Friday 5.30 – 10.30pm, Saturday 5:30pm 10:30pm
Trading hours – Bar:
Tuesday – Friday 12pm – 12am Saturday- 5:30pm – 12am