Lola’s Level 1 in Bondi has changed. Co-owner Marco Ambrosino – former co-owner of classic Sydney restaurants Fratelli Paradiso and 10 William St – has leant into his roots and moved the venue’s remit from broadly Mediterranean to specifically Italian. Driving the change in the kitchen is Toby Stansfield, who’s arrived beachside from Woolloomooloo, where he headed up the Old Fitz.
The young-gun chef knows his flour, eggs and water: he helped open pasta powerhouse Fabbrica, and its offshoot wholesale business, which makes pasta for top Sydney restaurants. He’s melding that background with fine-dining experience gained at stalwarts like Yellow and Monopole to craft a menu of zingy dishes such as king prawn risotto, pappardelle bolognaise and cotoletta Milanese. Here’s what else to expect from Stansfield’s kitchen takeover.
What’s your new job title?
I have taken the role of head chef at Lola’s Italian & Bar. My role here is to swing Lola’s into an Italian(ish)-Australian eatery, with dishes to keep people coming back. Whether it’s a quick lunch, or a meal [while you] sit and sip some delicious wine, we want to have an offering for every occasion.
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Why did you decide to move across to Lola’s?
I decided to come over to Lola’s after speaking with my good friend Mon [Ditbunjong] (our restaurant manager and wine extraordinaire) and Marco [Ambrosino] about the switch they wanted to do with Lola’s, focusing it on a more specifically Italian offering. And who doesn’t want to work this close to the beach! I saw the opportunity to work closely with some of the best in our industry to build something unique.
Do you have any fun plans or ideas for your new role?
My goal at Lola’s is to create a fresh pasta offering with classics and new-age ideas, binding new and old in a fun and electric environment. We are beginning to make all our own pasta and really drive the quality of produce and technique through to our guests. I want to make our menu strong and filled with different types of pasta and smaller dishes, along with a few punchy mains and sides.
Will you bring along any dishes or ideas you’ve been known for at other venues?
I have thought about bringing over the chippie seasoning from when I was at the Old Fitz, and of course I’ll be bringing all of the knowledge I learnt from the amazing guys in the Love Tilly Group [owners of Fabbrica].
And any dishes or ideas you reckon will thrill diners?
At the moment we are doing a cacio e pepe with truffles and pici, which is lovely thick semolina pasta, hand-rolled, begging to be coated in that thick cheesy sauce. But it is limited, so better get in quick. Our squid ink risotto is also fantastic.