Every neighbourhood needs a local Italian joint. In Darlinghurst, they come with Negronis and Aperol Spritzes on tap. The former Foley Lane tapas bar shapeshifted into an Italian bar and restaurant over a year ago. It still has the same owners (Julian Marchetto and Nathan Moses). You'll find the same furniture (bar stools at high tables). But in the kitchen there's a new chef (Lachlan Robinson, ex-Pendolino).
Aperol spritz $14
Aperol, prosecco and soda
Aperol spritz on tap means these arrive at your table dangerously quickly. The bittersweet zestiness of Aperol, prosecco and soda is just what you need to unwind after work, the dying rays of sunshine illuminating the Italian sunset in your glass. Bonus: if you dine early on a weeknight, the Aperol Spritzes are only $9 before 6.30pm.
Salumi, prosciutto, green olives and chicken liver parfait board $24
You can order olives, salumi and chicken liver parfait separately or get all all three on a board to share. It's an easy way to slip into dinner mode, nibbling on an olive here and a thick slice of salami there.
A paper-thin slice of prosciutto is deliciously soft and fatty.
Chicken liver parfait on crostini with onion jam in the copper pot behind
And the chicken liver parfait is impressively smooth, smeared generously on toasted crostini.
Mozzarella, ox heart tomato, crostini, basil, balsamic $19
By the time the clock hits 7.30pm on a Wednesday, the place is reassuringly full. It's a merry mix of locals, couples and groups of friends.
The menu is short and sweet, with only eight dishes in total. Aside from two pastas and two mains (spatchcock and swordfish), the rest are smaller sized dishes including beef carpaccio, octopus with potato, cabbage with mint and burrata, ox heart tomato and basil on crostini.
Our waitress lets us know they've run out of burrata but we order it anyway. The burrata has been substituted with mozzarella, its gentle milkiness marrying well with the ox heart tomatoes - a touch over-ripe and soggy today - but the sweet acidity of balsamic pulls everything together.
Swordfish, cos, spring onion, olives $27
The swordfish is a surprise highlight, a large steak-sized portion cooked so the flesh has only just started to flake apart. Crushed green olives across the top add a briny saltiness, roasted spring onion bulbs and fresh cos leaves provide further shades of green.
Pasta of the week: tagliatelle with duck ragu and Swiss brown mushrooms $27
The pasta is made inhouse. Each week a new special is chalked on the blackboard. This week it's tagliatelle with duck ragu and Swiss brown mushrooms. Roughly torn shreds of slow-cooked duck are tossed through the gently chewy strips of tagliatelle, but the real flavour bombs are in the Swiss browns with their deeply earthy notes.
Pumpkin ravioli, pistachios, burnt butter, sage $23
But whatever you do, don't miss their signature dish: pumpkin ravioli. Seven plump ravioli rounds hold a pocket of sweet pumpkin puree, bathed in a lake of burnt butter. There's a terrific textural element from the fried sage leaves, pumpkin crisps and pistachio too.
While we notice plenty of other diners ordering this to themselves, we find it sufficiently rich to share between three. This could have had something to do with us drinking every last drop of burnt butter, but that extreme nuttiness is just too good to waste.
Gather a small group of friends and order several dishes to share or order the $55 set menu for the kitchen's favourites.
371-373 Bourke Street, Darlinghurst, Sydney
(corner of Foley Street and Bourke Street)
No telephone. Book by emailing email@example.com
Tuesday to Thursday 5pm-11pm
Friday to Saturday 12 noon-12 midnight
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2/07/2016 01:54:00 am