Remember Limoncello? That endearing, lime-coloured restaurant that was full of kids on Sunday afternoon? It’s reopened as Matteo, a more stylish Italian restaurant from none other than two of the of those Sunday-afternoon kids, Eddie Levy (Lobo Plantation) and Adam Abrams (Darlo Country Club, The Island), and Limoncello’s former chef, Orazio D’Elia.
Fans of D’Elia’s Neapolitan pizzas at Da Orazio and Popolo will be happy to hear he’s put in extra effort to produce perfectly light, elastic dough. “It's a doppia lievitazione, we prove it a second time so… it's very light. You can smash two pizzas and sleep fine,” says D’Elia.
The chef describes the rest of the menu as pizza-supporting cast members, simple dishes and pastas. But one of the menu’s showstoppers is the salt-encrusted snapper. “We like theatre, so when we do the snapper, it'll be cracked open at your table like in southern Italy,” says Abrams.
D’Elia is a proud southern Italian and it comes across on the menu with Amalfi-style, parsley-infused scialatielli (long, square-sided pasta) with forest mushrooms and ricotta. Come October the team hopes to serve aperitivo in the front courtyard, a tradition that’s become annoyingly bastardised in Sydney (bars are selling drinks and snacks in the afternoon – traditionally, snacks should come free with a drink). “We'll do it every afternoon. Free snacks with a drink,” says Abrams. Those drinks will be modern Italian cocktails led by a selection of different spritzes. There’ll be a DJ later on. “The music will be for everyone. Stuff that will make families and kids happy,” says D’Elia.
The idea behind almost everything is recreating the same vibe Limoncello had. Besides for the fit-out, which, thanks to interior designer Ian Nessick, is much more stylish. There are stained, stone tables and a long marble bench at the bar. And the entire joint has been rendered and repainted to look more like the outside of a Greek villa.
29 Bay Street, Double Bay
(02) 9327 8015
Mon to Thu 5pm–12am
Sat to Sun 12pm–12am
This article was updated on September 1, 2017.