On the night I supped downstairs from the popular Hunky Dory Social Club, it was teeming with journalists. Anxiety was understandably rife. Smoothing her (designer) Alice-In-Wonderland style dress, our doe-eyed waitress fretted aloud: "I was trying to think of a word like awesome that started with T…”
Curiously it’s endearing rather than irritating, under the cowhide ceiling of this left-of-centre space. Regulars tend toward rockabilly. When they mosey down from the rooftop, Chef Daniele Trimarchi (ex-Icebergs) keeps them entertained with Little Golden Books of rustic Italian.
With drinking high on the agenda, boards of Olive Misto ($10) and Italian cold cuts, Affettati Misti ($19) are a good place to begin. From fat, fleshy Sicilian olives to wafer thin rounds of truffled salami, these produce-driven offerings shine.
Those thirsting for adventure might prefer the Nduja di Casa ($13) board. It’s a chance to lather spicy, smoked, spreadable pork on homemade wood fired bread.
The kitchen also turns out decent pizzas: Inseparbile ($18) is dotted with hunks of Roman sausage, slivers of red onion and a piquant Gorgonzola.
It's also dotted on the Funghi della Nonna ($14).
Offset your salt load (which by now might be considerable) with a simple Insalata Caprese ($14). Or follow in my footsteps (and continue the Italian theme) with a two-block saunter to Gelato Messina for dessert…
Downstairs at Hunky Dory Social Club, 215 Oxford Street, Darlinghurst
Ph: (02) 9331 0442
Shop 1/241 Victoria Street, Darlinghurst
Ph: (02) 8354 1223
Here are a selection of other dishes I sampled on the night: