When restaurateur Maurice Terzini (Icebergs, The Dolphin Hotel, Bondi Beach Public Bar) opened his Bondi pizza diner Da Orazio Pizza + Porchetta in 2014, there weren’t too many pizza places in Bondi – particularly ones working in classic Neopolitan style. By 2019, that had changed, so Terzini decided that Da Orazio was due for a refresh.
The timing worked well. Mitch Orr – from Acme, his now-closed boundary-pushing pasta restaurant – had just become available. Orr is now head chef at Cicciabella, which opened in October 2019. He’s cooking straight-laced Southern Italian food, garnished with the rebellious streak he’s become known for.
Pizzas have been downsized to smaller pizzetta, with toppings including potato, rosemary and lardo (cured fatback), and ‘nduja, olive and mozzarella. More compact pizza means more room in the enormous woodfired oven to cook other foods, such as fire-blasted whole-roasted fish, pippies and vegetables.
The antipasti menu includes fried calzone with mortadella and tomato, bone marrow with gremolata, and blue swimmer crab and mascarpone toast. What everyone expects from Orr, though, is pasta. And he delivers, with strozzapreti (twisted pasta) with zucchini flowers and pangrattato (breadcrumbs), maltagliati (thinly cut pasta) with braised rabbit and pistachio, and bucatini with osso-buco ragu.
The wine list is Italian-focused and minimal intervention. It leans towards light and fresh easy-drinkers. There are also superb cocktails by Matt Whiley, from boundary-pushing bar Scout (found at the top level of Surry Hills's The Dolphin].