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Sunday, February 07, 2016

Casoni, Darlinghurst

Salumi, prosciutto, chicken liver parfait and Sicilian green olives at Casoni, Darlinghurst

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 at Casoni, Darlinghurst
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.

Sicilian green olives and chicken liver parfait at Casoni, Darlinghurst
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.

Prosciutto at Casoni, Darlinghurst

A paper-thin slice of prosciutto is deliciously soft and fatty.

Chicken liver parfait with onion jam at Casoni, Darlinghurst
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 and balsamic at Casoni, Darlinghurst
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 and olives at Casoni, Darlinghurst
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.

Tagliatelle with duck ragu and Swiss brown mushrooms at Casoni, Darlinghurst
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 with pistachios, burnt butter and sage at Casoni, Darlinghurst
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.

Casoni Italian restaurant, Darlinghurst

Casoni Italian Bar & Eatery Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

371-373 Bourke Street, Darlinghurst, Sydney
(corner of Foley Street and Bourke Street)
No telephone. Book by emailing casoni@casoni.com.au

Opening hours:
Tuesday to Thursday 5pm-11pm
Friday to Saturday 12 noon-12 midnight

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10 comments - Add some comment love

posted by Helen (Grab Your Fork) on 2/07/2016 01:54:00 am


  • At 2/07/2016 8:42 am, Anonymous John - heneedsfood said…

    It goes to show I don't get to this part of town very often. Last time I looked there was a health spa at this address - although I'd prefer cured meats and delicious edibles over a deep-cleansing facial, somehow.

  • At 2/09/2016 2:31 pm, Anonymous chocolatesuze said…

    mmm the pumpkin ravioli was amazing haha i could drink a whole bucket of that burnt butter sauce

  • At 2/10/2016 11:21 am, Blogger Vivian - vxdollface said…

    Spooning the extra burnt buttery goodness onto the ravioli was indulgent indeed but it would have been such a waste not to mop it up!

  • At 2/10/2016 9:35 pm, Blogger Sarah said…

    This places look seriously awesome - good quality, simple food and drinks. Just quietly, I think it looks even more appealing than Continental Deli in Newtown!

    YES to negronis and aperol spritzes on tap!

  • At 2/10/2016 11:16 pm, Blogger Unknown said…

    Kitchen accessories make life convenient and leave their mark on the taste and quality of the cooked and served food. A kitchen is like a work place that requires right tools in the form of utility appliances and cooking and serving items. Besides, decoration accessories are needed to add to the kitchen's value as an important part of the house.

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  • At 2/12/2016 9:12 am, Anonymous Chris (Chew Your Chow) said…

    I keep seeing this in Dimmi, now I know how good it is, I'm going to book it for dinner!

  • At 2/12/2016 3:48 pm, Anonymous Hotly Spiced said…

    I'm often in Darlinghurst and I love Italian so I need to try this. I do love the presentation of the food. Aperol Spritzes seem to be becoming very popular all of a sudden. Where were they five years ago??? I will definitely try the pumpkin ravioli after some of that chicken liver pate xx

  • At 2/14/2016 8:43 pm, Anonymous Gourmet Getaways said…

    What a delicious looking meal!!
    The duck argue would have my name all over it! Love creamy pasta!

    Thanks so much for sharing
    Gourmet Getaways

  • At 2/19/2016 10:53 am, Anonymous Bianca@forfoodssake said…

    Negronis on tap!! Pasta + Burnt butter and sage is just one of those classic combinations. The food looks great, I'll have to get my butt there!

  • At 3/13/2016 9:09 pm, Anonymous Sara | Belly Rumbles said…

    Booze which isnt beer or cider on tap, oh hello, they have won a heart here. The food looks pretty alright too.


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