Newtown has a banging new middle eastern-inspired eatery and cocktail haunt, Avi’s Kantini, opening Thursday 6 May. You’ll find Avi’s Kantini inside The Bank – home of well-known live music venue, Waywards and dedicated craft beer bar, Uncle Hops. So, expect it to be loud, loose and a lot of fun.

Avi’s Kantini is big on big groups up for an even bigger night. Jump into one of the 12-seater cushioned booths under the neon pink signage in the courtyard and start feasting. That said, if you and your mates are working up an appetite in front of the DJ or upstairs with the band, the menu can be enjoyed anywhere throughout the three-level venue.

Mezes kick things off with favourites like octopus and potatoes with green olive, capers and Aleppo chilli; oozy baked saganaki with honey, pistachio, and rose; and chickpea falafel with muhammara, pomegranate. Then, it moves into a winning combo of a pint and pide (topped flatbread) or deliciously stuffed pita. Spicy merguez sausage, pumpkin, walnut, with goat cheese and molasses is just one of three pides on the menu. If pita (and a side of chips) is more your thing, opt for sesame fried chicken or falafel loaded with crunchy tabouli, pickles, cabbage, garlic toum, and baba ganoush; or the one-damn-big-mouthful lamb burger with fried egg, date chutney, mint and pickled onion. Sweeten it all with house-made rosewater Turkish delight with candied pistachio.

The cocktails, curated by Ed Loveday (ACME, Bar Brosé), journey around the eastern outskirts of Europe with arak, sumac, pomegranate, saffron, and bergamot helping to dial up the food flavours. Start with a refreshing Karpuz (meaning ‘melon’ in Turkish: tequila, watermelon, rosewater and lime) or Nar (meaning ‘pomegranate’: vodka, pomegranate, sumac, falernum, and lime). Then, move onto to the bolder Saffran (bourbon, lemon, bergamot, and saffron) or Avi’s take on an espresso martini - Ceviz (meaning ‘walnut’: spiced rum, coffee, date, black walnut).

The courtyard is the beating heart of Avi’s Kantini and is transformed into a vibrant, fun, eclectic space that draws on the Wayward’s music connection and the psychedelic rock vibe of the 60s and 70s. Wollongong artist El Oso Negro works his magic on a supersized custom art mural that injects pops of colour against the neutral tans and pastels of the revamped bar and seating. There’s an energetic vibe pulsating throughout the open plan courtyard while cushions, seating nooks, textured wall papers, and lush greenery allow groups to nab a space to call their own.

Elliot Solomon, CEO of Solotel Group, says: “Avi’s Kantini is loud, it’s loose, it’s lots of fun and it fits so well within The Bank alongside upstairs music venue Waywards and Uncle Hops craft beer bar. Especially now that live music and entertainment is thriving again, we saw a real opportunity to dial up the food and drink in the courtyard and create another experience for our groups of music-loving guests to enjoy.” 

Avi’s Kantini opens Thursday 6 May and bookings are encouraged.