Matteo Downtown – the Double Bay outpost’s cosmopolitan city cousin – offers the informality of a cafe but has the polish of a fine diner, and is open all day. This second instalment of the Matteo brand looks to the legacy of the great metropolitan restaurants of Rome and Milan for inspiration.
It feels sunny in the 600-square-metre restaurant despite the grey backdrop of high rises. A mural of 44 playful artworks by Sydney artist Daimon Downey is part of the reason. An open terrace with street-facing tables salutes Rome’s great piazzas.
In the morning there are about 15 styles of Italian pastries, such as egg-and-bacon rolls, panino dolce (sweet buns) and croissants. A sit-down menu can also be taken in the dining room, which features “uova in purgatorio” (tomato passata with slow-cooked eggs) and a breakfast-style cacio e pepe, or scrambled eggs with pecorino and Italian pork sausages.
Later in the day try fluffy stracciatella (buffalo-milk cheese) crowned with crudo prawns, cow-milk ricotta with Wagyu bresaola, and a beef tartare.
Chef Orazio D’Elia’s Naples-style pizzas are in the doppio lievitazione style; they’re made with dough proved twice so there’s no yeast, which makes them light and elastic.
And then there’s the marble mozzarella bar. D’Elia grew up in the Campania region of Italy – which is known for its buffalo – and he’s worked with Australian cheese company La Stella Latticini (in Auburn, in Sydney’s western suburbs) to deliver fresh batches each morning. D’Elia keeps the cheese at room temperature.
During aperitivo hour from 4pm until 6pm the staff steers trolleys stocked with Italian wine and spritzes, and complimentary snacks.