The newest venue to open in Sydney will bring a touch of Greece to Australia’s Bondi Beach, with a focus on community, great food and good times.
Founded by husband and wife team, Joaquin Saez and Emily Abay, Ikaria is based on the philosophy of the idyllic Greek Island, where community is at the forefront.
Located in the Aegean Sea, 19 kilometres southwest of Samos, the Greek island of Ikaria has been referred to as ‘the island where people forget to die’, due the extraordinary longevity of its residents.
The tiny Aegean island of Ikaria was identified in Dan Buettner’s November 2005 National Geographic magazine cover story, “The Secrets of a Long Life”, as one of five Blue Zones – regions of the world where a higher than usual number of people live much longer than average.
Research has attributed the longer life expectancy of Blue Zone populations to a number of lifestyle aspects including the social support they receive from friends and family allowing them to move through life outcomes more smoothly.
In his new venture, co-founder Joaquin Saez has developed this concept of community to form the basis of Ikaria, the breezy new Greek meze bar gracing the shores of Australia’s iconic Bondi Beach.
Having previously worked at venues including Alberto’s Lounge, Cho Cho San and Fratelli Paradiso Saez’s most recent experience was as Operational Manager of the Milpa Group, and Co-Owner La Palma Cocktail Bar, before moving on to now opening Ikaria in Bondi.
“We created Ikaria with a vision of bringing a unique way of life from the Aegean Coast to Sydney. This area has such a fantastic sense of community, and we wanted to create a bar where people can celebrate life and enjoy delicious food and cocktails, with an ocean view of our beloved Bondi,” says Saez.
“Ikaria’s philosophy mirrors the Greek Islands’ approach of adding life to our years, instead of trying to add years to our lives,” he adds.
The interior styling of Ikaria has been beautifully led by Saez’s wife and bar co-founder, renowned commercial fashion and advertising photographer Emily Abay, whose work has featured in magazines such as Vogue and Harpers Bazaar as well as countless international advertising campaigns.
Mediterranean and North African influences create an aesthetic synonymous with the region, seamlessly combining whitewashed walls, archways, neutral-toned tiles and Grecian planters, framed by sweeping views across the water.
Head chef Robert Young brings his extensive influence and expertise to Ikaria’s menu with high quality, simple dishes to share.
Raised and trained in the UK, Young worked in some of the UK’s most prestigious restaurants including one Michelin starred Martin Wisharts, before moving to Sydney. He has since worked at Quay, the opening of Bennelong in the Sydney Opera House, and Born by Tapavino.
Young is joined by Enrico Tomelleri, who was trained in Europe and has worked for well-known Sydney restaurants including Fratelli Paradiso, 10 William Street and most recently, Alberto’s Lounge.
Ikaria boasts a share-focused menu infused with a multitude of Mediterranean flavours such as an Ikarian-style taramasalata served with warm pita for dipping.
Saganaki finished with chestnut honey and crisp zucchini chips is teamed with a herb aioli.
Grilled octopus is paired with lukanika, a type of Greek sausage, while Greek-style lamb meatballs are adorned with a salsa verde.
Ikaria’s wine offering is diverse, featuring mostly European labels, alongside a handful of local beers and Greece’s Mythos lager.
At Ikaria you will also find a holiday-worthy cocktail list, featuring the classics and originals such the aptly named ‘Blue Zone’ — a fusion of tequila, blue curaçao, cucumber agave and rosemary smoke.
Ikaria will adopt ‘Aperitif Time’ from 3pm-5pm on Tuesday to Sunday, a happy hour offered to encourage the Mediterranean way of life, where relaxing with friends is key to a balanced and happy lifestyle.
Despite being currently unable to travel overseas, Australians are still able to escape to Ikaria, with its unique Mediterranean atmosphere and island holiday vibe.
Ikaria is located at 70 Campbell Parade, Bondi Beach. It’s open from 3pm–late Tuesdays–Fridays, 12pm–late on Saturdays and 12pm–10pm on Sundays.