It’s not the place, it’s the people – at Rainford Street Social

Surry Hills may be the most food-intensive neighbourhood in Sydney but there is always room for one more good one. The latest to hit the streets of 2010 is Rainford Street Social or, to those in-the-know, RSS. The project of Matt Darwon, proprietor of the estimable Toko and Tokonoma (both of which are located just two shops up), RSS is being sold as a neighbourhood bistro, open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. “The idea is comfort, as if one were at home” says owner Matt.

Bird Cow Fish has been transformed into an open, elegant space

RSS is not what I expected and nor is it what I would associate with as a second home. Like Toko and Tokonoma, the RSS scene is as important as the drinks, and the drinks are as vital as the food. With its warehouse-inspired space and seasonal, organic and home-style menu, RSS seems to define the restaurant thing at the moment. Bare brick and mortar, red ironbark tables, bookshelves filled with apothecary bottles and hanging bulbs – it is warm and comfortable but I’m hardly about to turn up in my trackies and jumper. (Mind you, a beautiful chesterfield sofa sitting in the entrance looks quite welcoming). Don’t get me wrong, it may not be home but that doesn’t mean RSS isn’t good.

Salad of old-fashioned beets, radish, leaves and whipped feta with ginger bread

The dining concept is sharing, which seems fitting given the collection of large communal tables. Not dining with a crowd? RSS takes counsel from Toko, offering a handful of seats at the bar, giving diner’s uninterrupted views of the expansive kitchen. The staff, however, are the restaurant’s major asset. They are knowledgeable and familiar without being overbearing or pretentious. As they say, it’s not the place, it’s the people and at RSS, this most certainly rings true.

Anna Lisle

Read more about Rainford Street Social here

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Filed under Rainford Street Social, Reviews, Surry Hills

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