Italian restaurant Bar M is in an old tyre factory in the Sydney suburb of Rushcutters Bay. Projections on the towering walls change regularly, depending on the food being served – one night it might be static photographs of old Italian film stars, the next it could be a Betty Boop cartoon or photos of rock stars such as David Bowie. The menu is a rotating selection of house-made pasta and gnocchi, and there’s a strong list of Italian wines.

Bar M was born from classic Sydney restaurant Machiavelli Ristorante, which has been kicking around for 30 years (and was a regular haunt for Sydney’s movers and shakers). It was founded by Paola Toppi’s (the matriarch of Bar M) mother, who migrated to Sydney from Naples in her twenties. Machiavelli was sold in 2016, but Bar M has run with the same ethos as Machiavelli: home cooking, done well.

“We worked hard to finesse the perfect chocolate mousse using a mixture of both milk and dark to create this decadent pleasure,” Toppi tells Broadsheet.

This dessert is a rich end to a hearty winter meal – Italian or otherwise – and surprisingly easy to make. Just remember to leave enough time for the mousse to set.

Chocolate mousse
Serves 6
Preparation time: 45 minutes
Setting time: 2 hours

2 eggs
2 egg yolks
80g caster sugar
125g milk chocolate
200g dark chocolate
500g cream
Whipped cream, fresh fruit and fruit puree, to serve.

Place eggs, yolks and sugar in mixing bowl and beat until soft peaks are formed.

Heat the chocolate in a double boiler until melted. Whip cream to soft peaks.

Combine melted chocolate and whipped eggs, then fold in the whipped cream.

Pour the mixture into moulds or a cake tin to set for at least 2 hours or until firm. Once set, decorate as desired, with rich thick cream, and fresh fruit and fruit puree.