Toppi is a sophisticated Italian diner at the top end of town, which dominates its corner spot at 60 Martin Place, opposite the Reserve Bank. It’s got a terrace with bar tables and stools overlooking the street, where you can enjoy a barrel-aged Negroni made with grappa or perhaps a trademark tiramisu Martini. Owner Paola Toppi’s name might sound familiar. In 1988 Toppi’s mother, Giovanni, opened the now infamous Machiavelli, a long-lunch destination for Sydney’s power brokers, politicians and business titans.
The Steel + Stitch-designed venue (Lobo Plantation, Flamingo Lounge, Chula) is attractive, with dark timbers, burnt orange-coloured velvet chairs and wall-to-ceiling doors that can be folded back when the weather’s warm.
The venue has three distinct areas: a pasta bar, a cocktail bar and a dining room, all of which offer a different experience. Through an open pass on one side, you can watch chefs prepare pasta from scratch, while on the other side you’ll see carefully curated cocktails being put together.
The pasta is pared back and simple. There’s tagliolini with lemon, butter and blue swimmer crab, and tagliatelle sciue sciue, which means “hurry, hurry”. It takes cherry tomatoes and adds king prawns and chilli. Toppi’s “not so traditional” bolognaise is served with chopped up candele (Italian for candle; it’s a pasta that looks exactly what it sounds like) instead of spaghetti.
For something more formal, the dining room menu includes Wagyu eye fillet alla pizzaiola (with spicy tomato sauce, garlic chilli and potato mash) and spatchcock alla cacciatora (with tomato, mushroom, rosemary and garlic sauce).