Four months ago, Marcello Farioli (ex Pendolino and Otto) was told the Rose Bay building his restaurant was in was going to be demolished. He doesn’t seem upset about it now, probably because he’s moved I Maccheroni to the former Buzo and Pinbone corner site in Woollahra. There’s sunlight flooding in, the kitchen smells like fresh bread, there’s a blackboard showing off tonight’s Ligurian specials and Farioli is talking about his plans.
His old restaurant, which went by the same name and (unfortunately) flew under the radar, was a shining example of what a local Italian diner can be: unpretentious and turning out simple, house-made food at relatively good value. The brief is similar here. “I like what I do; I think it works. I guess it's who I am,” says Farioli.
Here the menu will continue to constantly shift, but there’s always an ever-changing maccheroni option and three set dishes – the tiramisu, the arancini and the spinach-centred tortelli (round ravioli) with burnt butter, crisp sage and Parmigiano Reggiano that Farioli got from the chef at Clinica Gastronomica, a famous restaurant near Modena in Italy, after years of asking. “It’s the only thing we kept, I can't get rid of it, it’s become a signature. That and the maccheroni, I can’t not have a maccheroni.”
What’s new, besides the fancy setting (the grey, blue and timber fit-out could easily accommodate a fine-dining establishment), is the bar. There’s a lot more room at this site so Farioli has enhanced the wine list with a mix of classic and progressive bottles from Italy and Australia. “I love wine without added sulphites; we love Italian wine like this, but there are some great wines [from Australia] that rival any Italian or French wines,” he says.
Accompanying them is a short line-up of classic cocktails, and a growing roster of bar snacks, which so far includes polenta fritters, salumi and smoked burratta on toast. Every Tuesday he will offer a $39 three-course regional special, such as, for example, Ligurian dishes of zucchini flowers, seafood skewers and rabbit and artichoke pasta.
3 Jersey Road, Woollahra
(02) 9327 1416
Tue to Sat 5.30pm–10pm
This article first appeared on Broadsheet on September 18, 2018. Menu items may have changed since publication.