Lola’s Level 1

Lola’s Level 1 is an elegant Mediterranean-style diner by Sydney hospitality veterans Marco Ambrosino (Fratelli Paradiso, 10 William St) and Manny Spinola (Tea Room QVB).

Occupying the old Panama House on Campbell Parade, the 94-seat space is split across an elevated bar, dining room and balcony. Mirrored arches in the walls recall the porticos and doorways of the Mediterranean, with a colour palette of deep blue for the colours of the ocean. The dining room has herringbone wooden floors, dark wood Thonet chairs, terracotta sconces and deep-blue banquettes. Outside on the terrace, there are terrazzo floors and a million-dollar view of Bondi Beach.

Chef Paula Pantano – formerly of Crown Sydney and the Four Seasons – has split the menu into sections: oysters, small plates, “off the plancha”, larger plates and desserts. Oysters are taken very seriously, with up to four types always on the menu. Among the small plates is a milky white coil of handmade burrata with green basil oil and cold-pressed citrus gel. Pan tumaca, a Catalan dish of charred sourdough bread and tomatoes, is a highlight.

Off the plancha, there’s octopus with charred eggplant and tahini. Fritto misto comes with Pantano’s signature sauce: a salsa verde made with anchovies and pipparas (peppers). Larger dishes include a market fish of the day.

The cocktail list showcases Lola’s European-Latin flair and elevates Australian craft spirits and spins on old classics. Drinks are listed simply by their ingredients. There’s a take on a Tommy’s on the rocks made with lime, coconut oil, tequila and habanero sous-vide in agave nectar. The house version of a Pisco Sour involves macerated yerba maté (a herbal tea), citrus juice and a few drops of Fernet-Branca.

The extensive wine list is arranged around boutique Mediterranean drops, as well as bottles from Australian regions.

Updated: April 28th, 2022

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