Delfina’s Private Dining is named after someone who couldn’t cook. Restaurant manager Olivia Ashton’s great-grandmother Delfina was no wiz in the kitchen, but her love of sharing food at a good restaurant inspires everything Delfina’s is about.

Opening in the rapidly growing Emporium complex in 2015, Delfina’s immediately set itself apart. The interior is cosy and slightly kitsch, like the house of a glamorous grandmother.

The modern European menu encourages sharing at every opportunity. You might choose from cold-smoked salmon; a beetroot salad; or a larger plate such as beef short rib or duck breast. For a bit of romance, the “meals for two” section is hard to beat.

These options are best paired with a selection from the short, accessible wine list, where bottles rarely exceed $50. Otherwise there’s a range of boozy signature cocktails.

Brunch includes dishes such as pumpkin fritters with bacon; mushroom and goats cheese bruschetta; and jam doughnuts.

In the middle of the restaurant there’s a large wooden dining table. Brought in from Ashton’s childhood home, this is where the real Delfina and her family sat and ate.

With Ashton’s mother, Kelly, as the restaurant’s managing director, and many other family members on staff, it all feels pretty special, like a home-cooked meal at a friend’s house. The difference is you could never cook food like this at home, even if you’re more skilled that Delfina was.

Updated: February 5th, 2020

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