Gone is Danks Street’s beloved Fratelli Fresh, the original site that spawned a collection of sister venues around Sydney. But a bigger and better version has sprung up in its place, just a little further down the road.
The former Buckland Hotel has undergone a facelift to become the Alexandria outpost of Fratelli Fresh, expanded to include a pizzeria and bottle shop in addition to the usual Café Sopra and fresh produce areas. There’s even a dedicated car park some hundred metres from the site.
“We wanted to stay close to our Danks Street customers,” says owner Barry McDonald of the six-month refurbishment. The dining room is large and lively, brightened up with fresh white paint and tiling behind the wrap-around counter, which features a very busy pizza oven at one end. With the option to perch yourself at the bar or take to communal and smaller tables, the atmosphere is a new take on the Fratelli model – more sophisticated pub than cafe, offering a versatile dining and providore space.
From the kitchen, there are all the Italian staples like lamb ragu in chilli and rosemary sauce with gnochetti, crisp battered zucchini flowers stuffed with five Italian cheeses and hefty scoops of tiramisu swollen with espresso and liqueur. The menu’s pizza section features toppings including ‘nduja salami with tomato and mozzarella, and pizza bianca with Gorgonzola and salami. If you’re after something muddled, cocktail maestro Ben Davidson has contributed a couple of recipes: there’s the vodka-based strawberry, basil and balsamic smash, and the lemon thyme and olive oil smash made with Jameson whiskey.
“I’d say half our guests come just to shop, the other half shop after dining,” says McDonald. All the more reason to offer a larger retail section featuring an entire wall of pasta alongside imported biscuits, jarred goods and oils plus Fratelli’s house brand of jams and pasta sauces. Once filled with pokies, the adjacent walk-in cool room is stocked with pre-wrapped wedges of parmesan and sliced smallgoods, premium fruit and veg and Italian soft drinks. It’s a welcome attraction for patrons, wandering in and out between courses, glass of wine in hand.
Fratelli Fresh and Café Sopra Alexandria
52 Mitchell Road, Alexandria
(02) 8399 4777
Fratelli Fresh Alexandria store:
Mon – Fri: 11am-7pm
Sat - Sun: 10am-6pm
Café Sopra Alexandria:
Daily noon – 3pm
Bar /Pizza menu:
Daily 3pm - 6pm
Daily 6pm – 10pm