Sydney Unleashed

Sydney's #1 Entertainment & Lifestyle Publication

Morena is opening in Martin Place Sydney

Morena is opening in Martin Place Sydney

Executive Chef Alejandro Saravia has announced the official opening date for his new Latin American restaurant, Morena. Located within the historic GPO Building at No. 1 Martin Place Sydney, the 200-seat restaurant will officially welcome guests from Monday 15 April, 2024.

The highly-anticipated opening is the third venue from the growing Renascence Group (Hatted Farmer’s Daughters and Victoria by Farmer’s Daughters based in Melbourne) and will see Saravia return to his Latin American roots. Diners can expect an elevated experience with a menu that pays homage to Saravia’s native Perú as well as the cuisines of Colombia, Mexico, Venezuela, Argentina and Brazil – to name a few.

Open Monday to Saturday for lunch and dinner, Morena will span across multiple ground-floor spaces of the GPO building. Diners will have the choice of dining under the majestic glass roof of the 150-year-old GPO building in the Atrium dining space or taking a seat in the main dining room or at bar-seating overlooking the live theatre from Chefs and Bartenders. Outdoor Terrace dining will be available underneath the GPO colonnade that overlooks bustling Martin Place. To round out the offering a beautiful Private Dining room offers diners the perfect place to celebrate events and special occasions.

Inspired by the original architecture of the GPO Building, Morena has been brought to life by  multi-award-winning architects Ewert Leaf (Lune Croissanterie, Moonhouse). The design has been carefully thought through to build on the building’s 150-year history and personality, whilst emanating Latin American Republic architecture.

For Saravia, Morena represents a culmination of 15 years of working to shine a light on the unique flavours and hospitality of Latin America. Widely credited for introducing Peruvian cuisine to the Australian market, Saravia has been sharing his passion for Latin American food and hospitality across the country since 2006. Alongside Executive Chef, Alejandro Saravia, the Morena team will also be led by Group Head Chef, Samuel Rivas; Head Chef, Gianni Moretto; Group Venue Manager, Camilla Ure, Restaurant Manager, Luca Capecchi and Sommelier, Pablo Toledo.

Morena will be no exception to Saravia’s philosophy of working directly with farmers, suppliers and producers. Known for championing locally sourced ingredients, Saravia has developed a close network of local NSW and interstate connections who will supply the restaurant. Saravia is also sourcing authentic ingredients from across Latin America to ensure the food stays true to the flavours of the countries in which it originates.

Menu highlights will include several types of ceviche such as Goldband Snapper ceviche with leche de tigre, sweet potato and chulpi (Perú); King prawn ceviche with green plantain crisp, and hogao (Colombia) and Yellowfin tuna ceviche with aged soy dashi, daikon, aji rocoto and wasabi leaves (Perú). Other highlights include Abrolohos Island scallops with parmesan cream, lime, aji and amarillo butter (Perú), Kaloola suckling pig served with mojo sauce (Cuba) and Gundagai lamb picanha with a cachaça marinade (Brazil).

Of Morena, Saravia said: “I am thrilled to bring Morena to life in the heart of Sydney. More than just a restaurant, it’s a culmination of passion, culture and the finest ingredients. With Morena, I aim to create a culinary journey that transcends borders, celebrating the rich tapestry of flavours inspired by my Latin American heritage.”

He continues, “We really want to change Australians’ perspectives of Latin American cuisine and I want to showcase the diverse history of food in these great nations. Each dish at Morena will tell a story, and I want to ensure that I preserve the roots and authentic flavours.”

The beverage program at Morena will feature both Old World and New World wines. Morena’s Sommelier Pablo Toledo has selected wines which showcase the varietals synonymous with Latin American regions such as Carmenere from Chile, Malbecs from Argentina, and Tannat from Uruguay. In addition, wines from across select Australian and European vineyards will feature on the extensive wine list.

Alongside wines, the Morena cocktail menu promises a journey to Latin America. There are 12 delicious signature cocktails to choose from, each with a focus on Latin American spirits such as piscos, tequilas and rums. Must-try cocktails will include ‘Morena’s Punch’, featuring Peruvian pisco, Quebranta grape with jasmine tea, pineapple syrup and a touch of yuzu gin. The ‘Santa Clara’ is a herbal daiquiri that captures the flavour of Yerba Mate syrup and a minty bittersweet Argentinian tincture. There will of course be Morena’s take on a traditional Pisco Sour, the Morena’s Sour; made from a blend of Peruvian pisco “puro”, with fresh lime juice, a blood orange syrup and Oloroso sherry, finished with a Pedro Ximenez aromatic tincture.

The design utilises the GPO’s existing stone and tilework whilst also introducing some new tones and textures to create a unique look and feel. Taking inspiration from iconic buildings and tabernas in Perú, Argentina, Mexico and Colombia. Ewert Leaf have introduced beautiful natural timber, bronze, linen and soft brown upholstery. Creating the perfect backdrop for an elevated Latin American dining experience.

Of Morena Tess Carpenter, Lead Architect, Ewert Leaf said: “Taking design cues from Latin American restaurants to evoke a sense of nostalgia, we have created a series of unique dining experiences, where you can be seated at the bustling bar to dine, or sitting at one of the bench seats next to a bright red heritage post box. The open kitchen creates a sensorial experience embracing the theatre of the kitchen, sounds, aromas and food.”

Morena will officially open its doors on Monday 15 April 2024. For more info and bookings, head to

Sydney Unleashed is one of Australia’s premier entertainment publications exploring the latest in lifestyle trends. From Sydney’s finest restaurants, cafes and bars to the hottest in gadgets, products, and home entertainment, Sydney Unleashed is your one-stop lifestyle platform.