The menu at Surry Hills spot Bar Suze – previously popular for its Scandinavian-influenced dishes – has headed south. Now known as BS Pasta Palace, the venue has kept the same team and chilled-out vibes but is serving an affordable all-Italian menu, with a tasty revamp of a Bar Suze favourite.
“At the core, we are still what Bar Suze was,” says Greg Bampton (ex-Acme, Pinbone), who co-owns BS Pasta Palace with head chef Phil Stenvall. “The whole concept came from Phil and I wanting to eat spaghetti and meatballs, which quickly turned into us wanting to serve up the best in Sydney.”
Having both worked in fast-paced Italian venues, including where they met (the now-closed Johnny Fishbone), the two knew not to mess around with the classics – and the power of a short and sharp menu. After starters, food is split into a snappy pasta, parms, salads and sides – with the chicken or eggplant parmis supported by a helping of the house salad.
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Special mentions go to the pizza fritta, a crisp round of fried dough with a generous spread of caramelised garlic butter, and the off-menu prawn bruschetta. The latter is a reincarnation of Bar Suze’s beloved Toast Skagen (prawn toast), with dill swapped for basil, butter for olive oil and horseradish for Calabrian chilli.
There's Italian staples like fusilli red sauce and fettuccine alfredo, but a no-fuss spaghetti and meatballs is the bowl that really deserves your attention. The BS rendition stays true to the dish's simple Italian-American beginnings: pork and beef, milk, cheese, breadcrumbs and plenty of seasoning.
The wine menu is also a flashback to Bar Suze. “It’s a fun, accessible, by-the-glass list, exploring Italian varietals and exciting natural wines,” says Bampton. There’s a focus on northern Italy, including a juicy syrah from Vigna Flor, a small winery in the Colli Euganei regional park. There’s also a malvasia made high above sea level at Vej, an organic sulphur-free estate in Emilia-Romagna that uses only native yeasts.
Meanwhile, the cocktail menu includes an Amaro Fizz, a fizzy, bittersweet aperitif of Averna, citrus and sugar, and the dessert-worthy Palace Sour, a foam-topped drink that mixes limoncello, sweet vermouth and vanilla and could happily replace a tiramisu at the end of your meal.
Says Bampton: “We’re just a fun neighbourhood joint where you can hang out with friends and enjoy delicious food and yum wines without breaking the bank.”