Buffet Digital.

Matt Moran is a name that’s synonymous with the Sydney dining scene.
He’s the brains behind some of the city’s top eateries such as Aria and Chiswick, but Canberra has been calling and he’s finally answered with two venues: Compa and &Sando. Moran speaks to Hospitality about the expansion and what to expect from the new additions which have opened this week in the capital city.

Matt Moran’s appreciation for our capital city started when he was a child. “It’s a region I have been visiting family in for years, my first memory goes all the way back to when I was about four or five,” he says. The appreciation for Canberra only grew from there, with the chef and restaurateur more recently drawn to the city for its eateries. “Canberra’s long had some really exciting restaurants and talent, and I have worked with many local producers for years.”

Fast-forward to early 2024, and Moran announced his first Canberran foray with the launch of sister venues Compa and &Sando. Compa opens today and is a 116-person Italian steakhouse concept that is championing Australian beef cuts cooked on the venue’s Montague grill. Alongside steak, the menu lists a selection of pastas and sides including Moran’s signature Aria mash.

As the name suggests, &Sando is an 18-seat sandwich store. The venue offers a core sandwich list alongside rotating specials available for both dine-in and takeaway. It’s the first time Moran has leaned into the sandwich space, which marks the beginning of a new chapter.

Buffet Digital.

“Like many Australians, I love a good sandwich, whether it’s eating one at
home or from many of the great sandwich shops nearby — it’s a great way to layer good produce,” he says. “There has been a big sandwich boom in Australia recently, and we look forward to bringing our own offer to the table.”

Showcasing Canberran produce is something Moran believes the local hospitality scene does well and is something he wants to emulate at Compa and &Sando. “As a chef, the first thing that comes to mind when I think of Canberra’s dining scene is the produce,” he says. “Canberra restaurants are doing a great job tapping into the incredible produce that is local to the area and highlighting it on their menus.”

Moran is working with producers including Under Bakery and the team
from The Truffle Farm. Further afield, Compa is sourcing beef from Westholme Wagyu out of Queensland and the Northern Territory, plus Brooklyn Valley from Victoria’s Gippsland region. The restaurateur’s own Moran Family Farm in the Central Tablelands will provide Berkshire pork to be made into charcuterie along with Black Angus beef. Moran also hints at an &Sando/Moran Family Farm sandwich special on the menu, too.

Buffet Digital.

Building on his relationships with producers is something Moran is looking forward to. “I love opening up venues and curating menus for events in different regions across Australia,” he says. “It’s a chance to discover and work with new local producers that we wouldn’t normally showcase on the menu.”

Compa and &Sando are both now open with Moran more than eager for his foray into Canberra’s dining scene. “I can’t wait to open these two venues,” he says. “[It’ll give me] even more of a reason to spend time there.”