As the nooks, crannies, basements and laneways of the CBD become the new playgrounds of the inner city, we can chalk another hidden space up for points. Fratelli Fresh has opened in a well-worn basement space under Steersons on Bridge Street.

It’s the fourth instalment in Barry McDonald’s Fratelli empire (in addition to Waterloo, Potts Point and Walsh Bay) and it’s got all the trademarks of the other three beauties, only this time there is the added charm of the subterranean location. The space was once an old spice market, so there’s food heritage here, but Michael Delany’s rework of the interior is beguiling, almost like an underground fire station with its lacquered concrete floors, moody down lights and splashes of red here and there.

Three food/drinks areas divide the space, each with its own marble topped bar/prep area. Walk in past the displays of fresh bread and flowers and you’ll find yourself in Cafe Sopra (complete with its renowned seasonal Italian menu, a bustling open kitchen and a brick pizza oven), move on past produce shelves brimming with olive oil and pasta to the aperitivo bar, then head on through to the pizza and mozzarella bar at the far end for light snacks and drinks.

It’s a hidden food haven executed with finesse. Once you descend those worn stone steps, you’d hardly know you were in Sydney anymore. But the best part is, you still are and you can pick up your fruit and veg while you’re there.

Fratelli Fresh, CBD
11 Bridge Street, Sydney
(02) 8298 2700

Mon to Fri
Mercato 10am–7pm
Ristorante Café Sopra noon–3pm & 6pm–10pm
Bar Pizzeria Mozzarella noon–10pm