The sleepy seaside town of Shoal Bay in New South Wales has recently received a shake up with the opening of Atmos at the Shoal Bay Country Club.
The restaurant promises to transport people to the Greek islands through its traditional architecture, relaxing atmosphere and cuisine, and it definitely doesn’t disappoint.
In fact, Atmos caught our eye so much we just had to speak with the mastermind behind it all and it turned out to be Greek Australian and Director of the Shoal Bay Country Club, Peter Lazarus.
A project close to Peter’s heart:
Speaking exclusively with The Greek Herald, Mr Lazarus says he’s been immersed in the Australian hospitality industry from a young age.
“I’m a third-generation publican. My grandparents started working in hospitality. They started their careers in the mid-60s with a few pubs in Sydney and naturally, the pub industry has been a part of our family ever since,” Mr Lazarus says.
“My parents have [also] been operating pubs for the better part of the last 30 years and then I entered the business. As a fresh 18-year-old I came straight into the family business. So now we currently own and operate six venues across Newcastle, Port Stephens and Western Sydney.”
Of course, the latest offering out of all these venues is Atmos and Mr Lazarus says he wanted to open this restaurant in Shoal Bay to pay homage to his Greek heritage.
“Being Greek, we wanted to celebrate our heritage and our background. We frequently travelled to Greece over the last few years, whether it be visiting our home island of Kastellorizo or just holidaying on Greek islands like Mykonos and Santorini,” the now 28-year-old says.
“So obviously, this project is pretty close to our hearts. Essentially, we wanted to deliver what we think is a truly authentic Greek dining experience, whether it be the food or the design and the décor to the experience and the atmosphere.”
Authentic architecture and cuisine:
To make this dream a reality, Mr Lazarus had to think outside the box.
He decided to have Atmos designed entirely in Greece by Athenian architects, Karagianni Karamali. Many aspects of the fit-out, including the traditional render, wooden furniture and joinery, was manufactured in Greece and installed by local trades.
Shoal Bay Country Club’s Interior Stylist, Hannah Brady, also travelled to Greece in 2020 to source traditional Greek styling elements.
“Whilst we wanted to remain authentic in a Greek sense, we believe that was going to deliver something really unique to the Australian market because Greek architecture really isn’t a feature of any restaurants in Australia,” Mr Lazarus explains.
From there, the restaurant owner’s focus turned to the menu, which is centered on shared meals and has been curated by the Club’s Executive Chef, Leonard Faust, and Celebrity Chef, Phil Davenport.
You can definitely expect to see traditional Greek food such as whole snapper, slow cooked lamb shoulder and saganaki, as well as an open kitchen showcasing a charcoal rotisserie ‘souvla’ of chicken, pork and lamb.
Mr Lazarus says many of the dishes are also generational family recipes customary to the Greek islands.
“For example, the slow cooked lamb shoulder is my mum’s recipe. There’s my grandmother’s tarama recipe and also her baklava recipe as well. So yeah, we’ve kind of tried to remain as traditional in that sense as well,” he says.
It’s been done so successfully that people are flocking to Shoal Bay just to visit Atmos. This is a fact Mr Lazarus is extremely proud of and has him excited for the future.
“Before we opened the doors, we had about 6,000 bookings locked in. That was as a result of the regional tourism boom post COVID and people being ready to travel to regional NSW and explore the regions,” Mr Lazarus concludes.
“But also, [there’s] just a general excitement around a new offering in Shoal Bay. Shoal Bay is quite a slow and sleepy town when there’s no tourism so it’s generally been very well received and… I don’t believe there’s anything quite like it in Sydney or Australia, let alone in Shoal Bay.”
Atmos is open for dinner Wednesday to Sunday, and lunch on the weekend. You can find it at: 35-45 Shoal Bay Road, Shoal Bay, NSW.