For me the heady violet aroma of Lacrima Di Morro D’Alba DOC 2008 ($41/bottle) will always be united with this wonderful, new neighbourhood restaurant. The beautiful wine was from Marche, the same region that owner Simone Ciuccoli hails from. Simone is passionate about authentic Italian food; serving up the best pasta (Garofalo) and mozzarella (Fior di Latte).
Everything else is house-made by co-owner Marcus Bosshart, who doesn’t miss a beat in the kitchen. Extraordinarily silky Gnocchi Gorgonzola ($17) top...
...a carroty, stick-to-your-ribs Pappardelle with Lamb Ragout ($23).
With cooking this simple, there’s nowhere to hide mistakes; lucky there are none in the glorious Spinach and Ricotta Ravioli ($16/entrée, $24/main).
Mains show seasonal awareness - John Dory with Sauteed Zucchini and Bay Leaf Sauce ($27) is delicate and compelling;
Spatchcock with Fennel and Potato ($27) is super moist.
Instead of dessert I opt for an excellent Patate Pizza ($17), topped with little more than Fior di Latte, rosemary and thinly sliced potato. Lucky locals will even find a Tropicale ($19) on offer. Simone explains: “Last time I went to Italy, they’re starting to do pizza with pineapple on it…” The only thing I can temper this glowing review with is: it’s over lit - too good to be ‘locals only’.
Il Grappolo Cucina E Pizzeria
Balmain Shores, Shop 1/41 Terry Street, Rozelle
Ph: (02) 9810 3355