Dimly lit with a white curtain hanging delicately in the front window, Osteria di Russo & Russo may seem humble compared to its vibrant Enmore Road neighbours, but this newcomer offers all the warmth of a traditional Italian restaurant. Owner Marc Russo takes the helm of the cosy dining room, which resonates with old-world charm. Framed vintage photographs hang in clusters on the walls, which are lined with dark timber, while a pre-loved turntable spins atop the marble bar.
The kitchen operates under the control of highly acclaimed chef Jason Saxby (formerly of The Bridge Room and Quay), recipient of the 2011 Josephine Pignolet award. The considered menu is seasonally focused; large groups can choose between the reasonably priced chefs selection of four ($40 per person) or seven ($65 per person) courses.
The concise menu features plates ideal for sharing with compelling starters of Wagyu brasola with pickled vegetables and bagna cauda (garlic and anchovy dip) and piccolo fritto (fried school prawns with cauliflower, almonds and salsa rossa). Worth the wait is the cooked-to-order risotto with Jerusalem artichokes and truffled pecorino, not to be undermined by the cazzellitti (hand rolled spinach pasta with wild boar ragu and pine mushrooms) or Saxby’s version of zuppa di pesce (poached swordfish, mussels, fregola and bottarga in a mild tomato broth).
Dessert highlights Saxby’s playful side with recreations of the Crostata (polenta biscuit with poached quince, brown butter and almond ice cream) and Semifreddo (with thyme, strawberry and aged balsamic). With a liquor licence on its way and only operating in the latter half of the week, getting a booking here is set to become challenging.
Osteria di Russo & Russo
158 Enmore Road, Enmore
(02) 8068 5202
Wed to Sun 6pm–late