A sequel to Surry Hills favourite (and possibly the restaurant with the most-fun-to-say name in Sydney) Bastardo has opened in the CBD. 

The Porteno Restaurant Group, which is also behind Humble and Wyno x Bodega, has replaced the CBD iteration of Continental Deli with Trattoria Bastardo, a 60-seat classic Italian eatery. (Porteno co-owners Joe Valore and Elvis Abrahanowicz also co-own Continental Deli.)

The restaurant has a bar with a dedicated aperitivo hour suited to afternoons spent lingering over an impressive vermouth selection, as well as spritzes and Negronis. Unlike its Surry Hills sister, Trattoria Bastardo is open for lunch five days a week. 

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As a time-poor hospo vet, Porteno group co-founder Ben Milgate always struggled to find somewhere to enjoy lunch on his day off.  “Monday lunch is the only free time my wife and I have together as a couple, after we drop the kids off to school,” Milgate tells Broadsheet. “And it’s always hard to find somewhere great.” 

Stylist Sarah Doyle, the driving force behind the look and feel of all the group’s restaurants (and wife of Abrahanowicz), has brought in bold paintings by Mikey Freedom of what this writer calls “Things I Like To Eat”: there are plump tomatoes, flaked out whole fish on a plate, and a tangle of spaghetti on a fork. The walls have been painted a deep green, star-shaped lights stud the ceiling, and the leather banquettes are long-lunch-level cosy. When Broadsheet walked in during a busy weekday lunch service, the dulcet tones of Robert Smith played over the hum of well-heeled diners enjoying hearty bowls of pasta and vermouth on ice. 

And while the vibe might be different here in the city, the group has kept the menu similar. Head chef Rudy Ones, who started as a kitchenhand at Continental and worked his way up to the top job, opens his first menu with snacks designed for the buzzy aperitivo hour – crispy salt and pepper calamari, cured meats and burrata – before getting to the heartier dishes that Bastardo devotees know and love. 

“People come to Bastardo for the pasta,” Milgate says. “They’re all extruded on our beautiful pasta machine by Elvis’s dad, [Adan Abrahanowicz] – he gets there super early in the morning and extrudes up to 100 kilos a week for our restaurants. They are a labour of love.”

There are six pastas on the menu, including a conchiglie with zucchini cooked until it collapses in a sweet and creamy sauce, and finished with a luxurious swirl of stracciatella. A rigatoni with a ragu of coarsely minced pork cooked down with ’nduja, garlic and white wine did so well as a special on Holt Street that it has popped up on the CBD menu. It’s finished with chilli oil for an extra kick. Also on the cards is a Milanese with strong ’80s vibes: thinly sliced beef rolled in sourdough crumbs, topped with Napoli sauce, Parmigiano-Reggiano and provolone, and baked. “Elvis and I like to have a fried egg on top too, so you can choose to have that or not.” (Choose to have that.) 

The desserts, like everything else, run classic: a panna cotta, tiramisu, house-made gelato, or cheese for the umami-fixated.  

“You could open a Bastardo in every suburb and people would love it,” Milgate says. And, so far, CBD-dwellers agree. 

Trattoria Bastardo
167 Phillip Street, Sydney
(02) 9922 7347

Hours:
Mon to Fri midday–2.30pm, 3pm–5pm, 5.30pm–10pm

porteno.com.au
@bastardosydney