The bread at Totti’s is iconic. Instantly recognisable, moreish, simple with just a hint of theatre (in that glorious moment when it’s first spiked open). Broadsheet editors have dreamed about it, and then written 1000 words on it. Whether you think the place is a scene or not, the Bondi-born puffs – along with the rest of the menu – have created a benchmark. So, when Miss Double Bay was alerted to a Parisian lookalike – Totti, without the apostrophe and S – she spoke out.

“[Totti] was sent to me over the weekend by a friend who’s currently holidaying in France,” Miss Double Bay tells Broadsheet. “She stumbled upon the venue when she was walking around the streets of Paris! She’s from Sydney and was rather taken aback with how similar the branding was despite the restaurant not being owned by Merivale.”

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The Totti logo’s cherry-red block lettering bears an uncanny likeness to its Sydney counterpart’s branding, and coupled with the two Instagrams’ twinning display pictures and handles – @tottis.merivale and – it seems spicier than a happy coincidence.

“Don’t they say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery? I’m not sure I agree with that,” Merivale’s CEO Justin Hemmes commented to Good Food.

Totti’s arrived out the back of Bondi’s Royal Hotel in December 2018, when executive chef Mike Eggert’s menu sent eastern suburbs residents into a frenzy – that hasn’t slowed since (it’s still notoriously difficult to land a booking). Since then, Totti’s Rozelle and the CBD’s Bar Totti’s have joined the Sydney stable, and Totti’s Lorne services Victorians.

“I know some people say it’s overrated but I beg to differ,” Miss Double Bay says. “I’ve never had a bad meal at Totti’s, not once. Justin Hemmes should get me on his payroll for the amount of free advertising I give him.”

While the accused Parisian restaurant lacks Bondi’s signature spherical carb and snackable matching dishes, there is a plump burrata, bright roll call of pastas, large schnitzel and tiramisu to match. Which, truthfully, could be true of any Italian joint.

Miss Double Bay quipped in her Instagram reportage that Merivale should “get the lawyers on standby”.

So, is it just some fun for territorial Sydneysiders? Or, will cross-continental legal action eventuate? Merivale declined to comment on the matter. “If we’re being honest, is there such thing as an original idea these days?” questions Miss Double Bay. “The menu’s not the same, so it’s not like they’re getting the true Totti’s experience.”