More than a year after the closure of Chinese-Japanese restaurant Chuuka, on Jones Bay Wharf in Pyrmont, a fresh new concept will soon take its place. Sala, a contemporary Italian restaurant championing seafood, will open later this month.

The new eatery in the 100-year-old waterfront space – which was the home of classic Sydney seafood diner Flying Fish for many years – is a collaboration between Dedes Waterfront Group founders and operators Kerrie and Con Dedes (Flying Fish, Deckhouse) and executive chef Danny Russo.

Like Flying Fish before it, Sala will pay tribute to its harbourfront location with a seafood focus – but this time it’ll lean coastal Italian. Russo and head chef Michael Lewis (who has recently returned to Australia after several years cheffing in Italy) have crafted a menu that includes dishes such as squid-ink tortellini with crab, roast tomato and a lemon and caper sauce, and crispy fingers of risoni topped with a layer of caviar. A crudo bar will sit next to the open kitchen, which will also cater to boats plying Sydney Harbour.

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“We wanted to call on nostalgic Italian flavours and give them a modern flair to offer a sophisticated yet playful experience to diners,” said Russo in a statement. “Risoni, for instance, is a classic Italian dish for children, and here we have reinvented it with mature flavours like caviar.”

Drinks, by bar manager Behzad Vaziri (Intercontinental Sydney), also celebrate the sea: the Oyster Shell Martini is made with Never Never Oyster Shell gin and a combination of three oils (pine nut, basil and olive), while the Mediterranean Slide is built with mastica (a Mediterranean liqueur), limoncello, egg white and basil. A range of Negronis will be on the pour, and a portion of the menu is devoted to Amari Sours. Wines, selected by somm Rocco Pezzullo (The Star), are primarily Italian varietals from Australia and abroad.

Creative agency The General Store has taken inspiration from the Mediterranean for its overhaul of the space, with plenty of neutrals and curvy surfaces. It’s contrasted the heavy historic architecture of dark timbers with lighter materials such as white clay, stone and marble.

Sala Dining will open on November 25 at Jones Bay Wharf, Piers 19–21, 26/32 Pirrama Road, Pyrmont.

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