inconspicuous historic places with a utilitarian vibe usually make the most fascinating setting for a cool bar or restaurant. well, if it's all done properly of course. and such is the case with riley street garage, a new diner in a former garage as its already name implies, tucked away in a sidestreet in downtown sydney. the building was designed in art deco style by architect e.b.wilshire, featuring wunderlich colortex brick and textured cement render and an ornate steel awning over façade that adds a striking edge. the building wasn't only home to a garage but also accommodated a machine shop, car wash, offices, staff rooms and a service station. fast forward to 2013, the place has been transformed into a gastronomic full service station by hospitality guru brody petersen, albeit with a little help from design studio rad.
aiming for an aesthetic found in new york's meatpacking district, much of the original elements of the building have been retained and a range of spectacular design finishes, including rich leathers, steel, brass and copper detailing have been blended in. the main focus is the grand bar which seats 30 guests, situated opposite two distinct dining areas. the kitchen brigade is headed by chef regan porteous who serves modern australian cuisine, captured in a wide variety of appealing dishes, from light and tantalizing oysters and whitefish sashimi to a more chunky and savoury grassland scotch fillet or organic chicken with apple and onion vinaigrette. there's a drinks list which is equally plentiful, listing canadian and irish whiskey, craft beers and plenty of classic cocktails with a riley street garage twist. location: 55 riley street [king's cross].