Folonomo, Surry Hills | Lifestyle

In leafy Surry Hills - where you’re just as likely to be run down by a local on their fixie bike as you are by a car - you’ll find Folonomo, a unique restaurant concept that means you can enjoy fine dining in the heart of Sydney whilst also giving back to important causes.

Folonomo, Surry Hills

I'll admit it - when it comes to dining out, I'm somewhat of a fusspot. The food and wine must be good - of course - but I also want a sensory overload; I like well thought out interiors, attention to detail and an overall feeling of 'experience'. Thankfully, Folonomo in Surry Hills has this in spades, as well as being Sydney's only 'profit for purpose' eatery to boot. 

The name Folonomo is an abbreviation of the restaurant’s raison d’être, ‘For Love Not Money’. Through events, workshops, a cafe and restaurant, parent group Gratia are able to fulfill their ambition of being a social enterprise, offering visitors the chance to savour moments and fine food with friends where 100% of profits are invested into charities to help foster positive change in the world.

As they say:

‘Life is too short to focus on the things that divide us, when we could instead be sharing and savouring the moments that bring us all together.’
Gratia storefront, Surry Hills

Folonomo achieve this by paying their staff and overheads (including a start-up business loan, which will be repaid in 2-5 years) before donating any subsequent ‘profits’ into two pots - 50% to, causes selected by staff, and the other 50% to those nominated by customers at the venue.

Gratia Cafe, Surry Hills

The menu is scrumptious and varied - their $65 ‘Feed Me’ menu plays host to a number of mouth-watering dishes, including halloumi croquettes with parmesan and tomato relish, lamb carpaccio with roasted hazlenuts, dry aged beef with anchovy butter and a to-die-for chocolate ganache to finish. On Locals Night every Tuesday, it’s BYO, too, although the in-house wine selection is also very good and reasonably priced. There’s also the Early Banquet deal on a Friday and Saturday night, where you can get a 5 course banquet menu for $45 between 5.30-6.30pm, provided you’re out before 7.30pm.

Folonomo, Surry Hills

And importantly, the interior at Folonomo and neighbouring cafe Gratia does not disappoint. Think rustic-inspired and straight out of the pages of Country Style, with a leafy, bright courtyard for summer and a cosier, exposed stone walls and bare lightbulbs interior.  Upstairs, you’ll find the Sydney arm of The School of Life, the global organisation that provides education on emotional intelligence through hands-on workshops. Whilst you're waiting for your dry-aged steak to cook, you can peruse the School's eclectic book selection - more food for thought in what is already an inspired space. 

School of Life, Surry Hills

In a busy, expensive city like Sydney, it's reassuring to find a neighbourhood gem such as Folonomo that, whilst doing good, doesn't make a song and a dance about it. As someone wise once said, it's simple food, cooked well, in an atmospheric setting - and gives back to those who really need it. What more could you want?

Folonomo is open Tuesday to Saturday from 6pm.