In 2002 The Executive Director and Chief Curator of the Art Gallery Of NSW Edmund Capon Am approached Manfredi to assist with his vision to create a world class dining destination for visitors to the AGNSW. The brief was to work alongside architect Richard Johnson of Johnson Pilton Walker, who was undertaking a major project which included alterations to the original Asian gallery, a new temporary exhibition space above the Gallery’s entrance foyer, new conservation studios, a cafe, a restaurant and a dedicated function area with spectacular harbour views. Manfredi brought longtime collaborator Luigi Rosselli to deliver a seamless, modern yet timeless restaurant design. Manfredi provided the layout and specifications for the kitchen and service areas, as well as the operational specifications for the Gallery’s choice of Caterer.
Myer and Grace Bros
After the success of bel mondo in 1996, Stefano and Julie were approached by Myer Grace Bros Department Store group (MGB) with an ambitious project for their new flagship store in Sydney’s CBD. MGB wanted to create a seamless eating and shopping experience across seven floors, blending modern Australian style with a more sophisticated attitude toward retail and hospitality.
di Manfredi created four distinct dining experiences to the MGB brief . On the ground floor, Newsbar transformed heritage architecture into a bustling urban bistro, while the cafeteria-styled Cantinetta and Italianate Book Café provided relaxed meeting places with fast food alla Manfredi. The store’s fine-dining restaurant, Grace, was awarded one hat in 1999.
Manfredi and MGB’s vision for a more sophisticated Sydney retail experience attracted international recognition. However in 2001, MGB abandoned the concept of a stand-alone Sydney store, and Manfredi made the decision to decommission the restaurants and exit the store.
Manta and Coast with Tim Connell
In 2003 Manfredi collaborated with the late and much respected restauranteur Tim Connell to revitilize the successful but tired restaurants Manta Ray on Woolloommoolo Wharf and Coast at Cockle Bay.
On the surface both restaurants needed refurbishment and new menu direction, while at a deeper level a complete cultural and structural change was crucial for the Manfredi approach to take hold.
di Manfredi brought in Frost* Design to oversee the concept and rebranding of Coast and the newly renamed Manta. New executive teams and staff were selected , with Stefano introducing and mentoring head chefs Eugene Maiale (now owner of acclaimed restaurant A Tavola) and Johnathan Barthelmess (former head chef at Manly Pavillon – SMH GFG recipient of Best New Restaurant 2011). and now owner of accliamed and cool new dining destination , The Apollo .