The latest addition to Barangaroo’s growing list of venues, Bottega Coco, is an elevated all-day Italian restaurant with an in-house patisserie. Executive chef Pier Davide Maiuri’s menu offers a range of fresh takes on classics, drawing on his experience in Michelin-starred restaurants like Gaggan Anand (Bangkok), L’Effervescence (Tokyo), and Alinea (Chicago).
Showcasing his well-honed techniques and flavourful twists, there’s an inventive swordfish carpaccio pizza, plus comforting-yet-elevated classics such as gnocchi alla Sorrentina and eggplant Siciliana. One star plate is a rich and silky champagne-infused risotto topped with paradise prawn tartare. Currently Maiuri’s favourite dish on the menu, the risotto’s magic comes from the quality of the rice. “We use Acquerello rice, which comes from northern Italy and is aged, like wine, in silos,” Maiuri tells Broadsheet. “Every grain goes through a 20-step process according to specific rules and standards and is discarded if it doesn’t make it. Once toasted, it’s so fragrant, it’s just beautiful.”
Another highlight is the carre di agnello. A roasted rack of white Pyrenees lamb – raised on grain in Victoria’s Pyrenees Ranges – is served on a puree of Jerusalem artichoke then splashed in thyme-infused jus. “The jus takes two-and-a-half days to make,” says Maiuri. “We roast the [lamb] bones, then reduce them till we get a syrup-like texture.” The meat is topped with fresh mint, picked just 10 minutes before the dish is served from the in-house vertical garden, where restaurant-ready herbs and flowers grow.
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There’s also a breakfast menu loaded with original takes, such as an eggs Benedict featuring a smoked-salmon croquette, as well as classics like granola and avo on toast. Croissants, macarons and other artful sweets from pastry chef Vincent Gadan (ex-Bistro Moncur, Bennelong) fill the extensive pastry counter. The spectacular Coco L’Opera House best shows Gadan’s skills. A rich lamington mousse shaped like the iconic Opera House sails sits atop coconut sponge on a wattleseed biscuit base.
Bottega Coco worked with carbon-offset consultancy Clima to co-develop a model that considers sustainability at every level of the business. As well as the vertical garden, they are committed to using locally produced goods sourced from suppliers and seafood certified by the Marine Stewardship Council. The wine list follows suit, featuring drops made sustainably in regional Australia, New Zealand, France, Italy and Argentina.
The fit-out aligns with sustainability too, adopting 80 per cent of the furniture from the site’s previous occupant, Bel & Brio. There’s room for 120 people indoors and another 40 outside, with seating spread across cushioned rattan chairs and a cluster of cosy booths. Warm lighting brightens the sophisticated space, which is accented by deep reds, browns and ivories.
“We’re trying to do something nice for the environment,” says Mairui. “I hope we inspire other restaurants to do the same. Every little change can make a difference; as chefs, we have to take care of our planet.”
T3.01/300 Barangaroo Avenue, Barangaroo