While not in the hippest part of the Surry Hills groovy ghetto, this light and airy, modern space won me; over-delivering on my expectations. I found it hard not to covet their super sexy 1968 Vespa.
A complimentary plate of grilled bread and warmed Ligurian and Sicilian olives helps one peruse the menu in a leisurely fashion.
A Legno Pizza ($20) surprised with big taste from pancetta, porcini, Italian sausage, garlic, basil and boccocini on a deliciously thin base. The pizzas are not wood fired - apparently council rained on the wood fire oven parade - but wood fire ovens have a few downsides I'm told. They only work properly for one pizza (that is, if you open the door to stick in the next person's pizza they lose too much heat) so they have imported a high tech Italian pizza oven, and it does an amazing job.
The aged Beef Carpaccio ($19) with springy rocket, Parmigiano Reggiano and a fifteen year old balsamic reduction goes down very easily. If you've always wanted to try carpaccio, this is a great one to start with.
Crisp ricotta stuffed Zucchini Flowers ($17) contrast well with a light tomato and champagne sugo.
The spirit of Italian generosity is evident in the Confit Duck-Leg Risotto ($26), heavy on the duck and big on flavour from more porcini mushrooms.
The hand-made mint pappardelle served up with a slow cooked Lamb Ragu ($22) demonstrates their commitment to sourcing the best produce. The mint in the pasta is quite clever; it cuts against the heaviness of the rich lamb a treat! I laughed to find out it is the same pasta maker that I purchase my pasta from.
Staff like Floor Manager Danny Emery demonstrate commitment and enthusiasm for the job; his suggestion of an easy-drinking, affordable 2008 Pasqua Soave ($7/glass, $24/bottle) was a welcome contrast to our selected mains.
A neighbouring patron remarked: “I live around the corner and I’ve been here three times in the three weeks that it’s been open.” After eating the rather adult caramelised Banana and Chocolate Calzone ($12) made using their exceptional pizza dough and drizzled with butterscotch sauce, I knew I’d be returning too. This is one of the best desserts I have had for ages, and certainly the best dessert calzone I've tried.
An Affogato ($10) with hazelnut liqueur probably pushed me over the edge with the stunning calzone, but it did show off good coffee. The owner has a couple of specilist cafes so coffee is also a strong point - well made Lavazza.
The owner is also an importer of Italian products, so you can expect the best in the restaurant. One of his products is Santa Vittoria water, used as a decor element in the restaurant. My last photo is of art on the way to the bathrooms - it was quite lovely, made with layers of Japanese wrapping paper.
529 Elizabeth Street, Surry Hills
Ph: (02) 9698 8225