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Monday, January 07, 2019

Totti's, Bondi

Mike Eggert from Pinbone now at Totti's in Bondi

Been missing Pinbone? Good news! While the Pinbone team is still on hiatus, you can now find Mike Eggert on the pans at Totti's. It's the newest venture by Merivale, a casual Italian eatery tucked into The Royal Bondi hotel. Expect lots of shareable dishes for large groups, tasty snacks for the peckish and some rocking great pastas.

$3 cordial jugs at Totti's by Merivale in Bondi
Totti's menu and 1L of orange cordial $3 
No-groni seedlip spice, monin bitter and palermo rouge $15

The courtyard is definitely where you want to be, a breezy open space overlooked by the kitchen. It's here you can watch Eggert commanding the pass, with woodfire expert Khan Danis (ex-Rockpool) keeping a close watch over everything in the Josper charcoal oven.

Settle in with a cocktail or mocktail under the olive trees (craned in specifically for Totti's). They even have $3 jugs of orange cordial (weak, but hey $3!) with all proceeds going to OneWave, a non-profit community group that focuses on surfing for mental health .

Burrata, olives and salumi at Totti's by Merivale in Bondi
Burrata, olives and salumi

The internal dining room is where you'll find all the salumi and the wood-fired oven. It's a cosy space but the room can be prone to stuffiness depending on how hot it is outside. Large ceiling fans do help with airflow.

Prepping burrata behind vine tomatoes at Totti's by Merivale in Bondi
Prepping burrata behind vine tomatoes 

But there's plenty to watch here, as staff shave salumi, scoop out plump balls of burrata from urns, and drizzle everything with grassy green extra virgin olive oil.

Wood-fired bread fresh out of the oven at Totti's by Merivale in Bondi
Wood-fired bread fresh out of the oven

You also get to spy on all the wood-fired oven action, watching the dough being teased into shape before a smoky interlude in the oven.

Wood-fired bread at Totti's by Merivale in Bondi
Wood-fired bread $10 each

The wood-fired bread puffs up into blistered pillows, like a fluffy space ship that's flown too close to the sun.

Burrata at Totti's by Merivale in Bondi
Burrata $8 

You'll definitely want to order a round of wood-fired bread, ripping apart its piping hot crust to sop up the spillage of cream from the gleaming pouch of burrata. The stuffed mozzarella is milky sweet, splashed liberally with extra virgin olive oil.

'Nduja at Totti's by Merivale in Bondi
'Nduja $8 

A couple of antipasto favourites have made the leap from Pinbone's former pop-up, Dirty Italian Disco. That includes the burrata, chicken liver parfait and the 'nduja. The latter isn't half as spicy as its former incarnation - a good or bad thing depending on where you sit on the Scoville scale - but it's still a ridiculously addictive porky paste.

Pasta at Totti's by Merivale in Bondi
Pastas at Totti's 

Whatever you do, make sure you order a plate of pasta. Eggert's commitment to handmade pastas is a joy to behold.

Lamb ragu at Totti's by Merivale in Bondi
Lamb ragu with pappardelle $29 

Pappardelle with lamb ragu sounds more like a winter dish but there's a lightness to the passata sauce, mixed thoroughly through lazy folds of wide and silky pappardelle. The lamb is soft and tender.

Fregola with calamari and mussels at Totti's by Merivale in Bondi
Fregola with calamari and mussels $29

Calamari, mussels and fresh parsley brighten a bowl of gently chewy fregola. The seafood is cooked just so.

Linguine with spinach, herbs and walnut pangrattato at Totti's by Merivale in Bondi
Linguine with spinach, herbs and walnut pangrattato $25 

I'd been keen to order the spinach linguine and it comes up the goods. There's much to like about the tangle of al dente linguine, tossed through with pesto and covered in mixed green herbs, parmesan and walnut pangrattato. The crunch of the fried bread (pangrattato) is oh so good.

Rigatoni with milk-braised pork and chilli at Totti's by Merivale in Bondi
Rigatoni with milk-braised pork and chilli $28 

Short tubes of rigatoni pasta are the ideal vessel for holding a rubble of milk-braised pork and a good shower of parmesan. It's a simple celebration of pasta with meat and cheese, anointed generously with olive oil.

Prawn casarecce at Totti's by Merivale in Bondi
Prawn casarecce $29 

My favourite, though, is the prawn casarecce, the hand-rolled pasta providing a chewy contrast to the plump curls of prawn. There's an intensity of prawn flavour to the sauce, as though it has been made with prawn head stock. It's enough to make you stop for air with the first mouthful, before you greedily grab another forkful and plough on.

Bannockburn roast chicken at Totti's by Merivale in Bondi
Bannockburn roast chicken $39 

Admittedly the Bannockburn roast chicken isn't as good as the spatchcock with lemon and tarragon butter at Dirty Italian Disco, but there's a fine wood-fired char to the skin. The flesh is a little dry though, although somewhat rectified with a good squeeze of fresh lemon.

800g wood-grilled rib eye steak at Totti's by Merivale in Bondi
800g wood-grilled rib eye steak $89

We have much more fun attacking the wood-grilled rib eye steak. It's a beast of a cut at 800g, cooked so the flesh has a caramelised crust. I scored the bone, and gnawed off every last skerrick of fat and flesh.

Baked eggplant with chilli and pangrattato at Totti's by Merivale in Bondi
Baked eggplant, chilli and pangrattato $11

There's a wide selection of vegetarian sides, mostly likely numbering eight if you remove a few rogue meat ingredients. The baked eggplant is the kind of dish you almost want to order with bread, so you can scoop out and savour the soft and sticky flesh.

Zucchini, mint and parmesan salad at Totti's by Merivale in Bondi
Zucchini, mint and parmesan salad $9

And while the zucchini, mint and parmesan salad looks a little too simple at first, there's a surprise puddle of what tastes like ricotta cheese at the bottom. It lends a pleasing creaminess to the super fresh raw zucchini rounds covered in a blanket of finely grated parmesan cheese.

Roasted Roma beans, pancetta and red pepper dressing at Totti's by Merivale in Bondi
Roasted Roma beans, pancetta and red pepper dressing $11

Roasted Roman beans are amped up with a red capsicum sauce spiked with pancetta. There's a delicious sweetness to the beans although some pods are noticeably more fibrous than others.

Char-grilled broccolini, almond and anchovy at Totti's by Merivale in Bondi
Char-grilled broccolini, almond and anchovy $11

And I can't get enough of the char-grilled broccolini, heavily scented with smoke and scattered through with roasted almond chunks and bits of anchovy.

Broccolini in the Josper charcoal oven at Totti's by Merivale in Bondi
Broccolini in the Josper charcoal oven

The broccolini gets its smokiness from the glowing coals in the Josper oven.

Veal rump schnitzel at Totti's by Merivale in Bondi
300g veal rump schnitzel $29

Our group of nine is still peckish so we order another round of pastas (the pork rigatoni and the prawn casarecce) as well as the veal rump schnitzel.

Veal schnitzel at Totti's by Merivale in Bondi
Inside the veal schnitzel

There's a small issue with the batter tasting a little undercooked and gluey - an issue that could have been avoided with another 30 seconds in the deep-fryer - but the veal itself is soft and juicy. It's a shame, especially as we savour the perfectly salty crunch of fried capers and wispy curls of parmesan cheese.

Ice cream sandwich at Totti's by Merivale in Bondi
Ice cream sandwich $8

Dessert-wise, we order everything on the menu except for the cheese platter. For maximum fun, get the ice cream sandwich, a nostalgic throwback to childhood. What impresses here is how the ice cream sandwich, when done well, can be so good. That means a proper strawberry ice cream - a little bit sweet, a little bit tangy - sandwiched alongside vanilla and chocolate ice cream between fresh and crunchy wafer sheets.

Orange flan at Totti's by Merivale in Bondi
Orange flan $12

On a hot summer's day, you'll want the orange flan, its soft set custard covered in a rubble of orange granita.

Cherry and stone fruit crostata at Totti's by Merivale in Bondi
Cherry and stone fruit crostata (tart of the day) $12

The tart of the day is a cherry and stone fruit crostata when we dine. It's a fine tasting tart, with buttery pastry holding big pockets of sweet and sticky fruit. A big dollop of cream on the side makes it all go down a treat.

Tiramisu at Totti's by Merivale in Bondi
Tiramisu $12

And you bet we ordered the tiramisu. A purist would insist the sponge fingers should have been soaked to be a little softer in texture, but there's still much to like here, from the soft clouds of whipped cream to the sweet debris of chocolate across the top.

Desserts at Totti's by Merivale in Bondi

Judging by the business of the dining room, the crowds have already found Totti's and they don't look to be leaving soon. Grab your mates and kick back in the courtyard either before or after a trip to the beach.

Totti's by Merivale with Mike Eggert at The Royal Bondi

Totti's Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Totti's at The Royal Bondi
283 Bondi Road, Bondi, Sydney
Tel: +61 (02) 9114 7371

Opening hours
Monday to Saturday 11.30am-12am
Sunday 11.30am-10pm

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posted by Helen (Grab Your Fork) on 1/07/2019 06:43:00 pm


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