There have been better times to open a hospitality business, let alone two side-by-side. This hasn’t stopped Elvis Abrahanowicz, Ben Milgate and Joseph Valore – the owners of much-loved Surry Hills restaurants Bodega x Wyno and Porteño – from jumping at the opportunity to open a new trattoria and bakery on Holt Street. Yes, Holt Street – these newbies will be right next to the group’s existing venues.
“Pretty much, Covid hit, the two shops next to us became available and we decided to go for it,” co-owner Ben Milgate tells Broadsheet. “We’ve never done a bakery and a cafe before and thought, ‘Why not?’”
Slated to open in October, Bastardo Italian and Humble Bakery will offer something different to what the team – which in the past has focused on South American and Iberian cuisine – has already given us.
Bastardo Italian will serve gnocchi, grilled meat and fish, lots of veggie options, and stuffed pasta made using “a pasta extruder we got from South Australia from some old Italian guy”, Milgate says. The menu will pull from Valore and Abrahanowicz’s respective Sicilian and Argentinian backgrounds (Abrahanowicz’s dad is even coming out of retirement to help in the kitchen). Pasta will do most of the legwork, but expect a big focus on vegetables.
“We feel that’s missing a bit in some of the Italian joints around town. And Porteño is where you go for the big meat feast,” Milgate says. “This is more of a stuff-your-face-with-pasta type place – fast-paced, family-friendly; everyone-friendly.”
On the drinks front expect stuff the owners like to quaff – “natural stuff, classic stuff, a lot of aperitifs and digestifs. Nothing too fancy – just neckable stuff.”
The trattoria’s interior design will be inspired by Italy in the ’60s, with old lino floors, dark wooden surfaces, green terazzo tables and an old Italian-style fence (“like what you see in Italian neighbourhoods”) installed around the kitchen. Local artist Mikey Freedom is doing art for the walls, and the kitchen will be wide open.
“It’s going to be a bit more fun and casual [than our existing restaurants],” Milgate says. “It reminds me of Bodega 14 years ago, when we first opened. It’s going to be good vibes in there.”
Humble Bakery will be open to both dine-in and grab-and-go customers, with sourdough and yeasted breads, including baguettes; plain and topped focaccias; and a good sweet selection, with plenty of classic pastries. There’ll be salads, sandwiches and bowls for lunch, and a big new gelato machine. The bakery will be licensed, so you’ll be able to enjoy a Mimosa, Bloody Mary or glass of wine with your croissant.
Bastardo Italian is set to open early next month, with Humble Bakery slated to follow in mid to late October.