“Jane’s kitchen has one of the best views in Sydney,” says Stefano Catino as we take in the 360-degree aspect from sky-high new CBD bar and eatery Dean & Nancy on 22. Catino, who co-owns the new venue, is talking about well-regarded executive chef Jane Strode (Bistrode, Rockpool, Langton’s).

Located in a semi-circular space, with windows two storeys high, on level 22 of the luxe new A by Adina Hotel, Dean & Nancy’s leather banquettes and kitchen look out over garden rooftops. Harbour views can be spotted between sandstone buildings and ultra-contemporary glass towers.

“On level 22, you could be anywhere: Sydney, Tokyo, New York,” says Catino, who is opening the venue with long-time business partner Vince Lombardo.

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Against the dramatic backdrop of Sydney’s sparkling CBD, the team behind Maybe Sammy, its recently opened cafe spinoff Sammy Junior, and pizza parlour Maybe Frank has created a glamorous but restrained black, marble and gold aesthetic that allows the food, drink and view to take centre stage.

As at Maybe Sammy, creative director Andrea Gualdi approaches the cocktail menu with the care and seriousness of a man who oversees the drinks at the world’s 11th best bar, and the playfulness of someone who loves his job.

“The drinks are pretty fun,” Gualdi tells Broadsheet. “We’re doing interactive cocktails.”
There’s the Double or Nothing, which is served with a pair of dice (rolling a double will get you a glass of champagne on the house), or the 23rd & Broadway, a Wild Turkey Rye, sandalwood macadamia and madeira cocktail that’s accompanied by a stick of sandalwood incense smoking under a glass.

The Coffee Champagne is made with Mr Black coffee liqueur, vodka, peach wine and champagne, and is infused with fresh vanilla and served on tap.

“Instead of aromatising the glass, we worked with a cosmetics company to make a rich hand cream, which comes in little pots,” says Gualdi. “The heat of your skin brings up the scents, and you keep the aroma of the cocktail even when you’ve finished drinking.”

Strode’s menu of share plates is equally creative. There’s simple fare, such as Sydney rock oysters and an exceptional Pinnacle Scotch fillet that’s served medium-rare, with chimichurri. More complex dishes include the Fireball: crisp Greek kataifi pastry (string pastry) wrapped around a mixture of ’nduja and mascarpone, baked and served with tomato jam and Westmont pickles.

You wouldn’t be blamed for thinking that Dean & Nancy is an extension of the Rat Pack theme of the group’s other venues, Maybe Frank [Sinatra] and Maybe Sammy [Davis Jr] – but Dean Martin isn’t the new venue’s namesake.

“Forget about the Rat Pack,” Catino tells Broadsheet. “Dean and Nancy is about two ’50s-era fictional characters, and the restaurant is all about the dualism of their relationship.”

He says one day they might finish the Rat Pack, but for now they’re grateful Lady Luck has looked favourably on Australia during a time when the rest of the world has struggled.

“We’re so blessed all the venues are doing great; we want to watch what’s happening. I think we’re going to stop and just push what we have.”

Dean & Nancy on 22 reopens on October 20.

Dean & Nancy on 22
Level 22, 2 Hunter Street, Sydney

Wed to Sat 4.30pm–late