Society Espresso has landed in Rooty Hill. It’s offering Mediterranean flavours across an extensive menu. The 180-seat venue is the third venture from co-owner Jonathan Faro, who is behind Bondi’s Society Pizzeria Di Catania and Potts Point’s Society Di Catania.
“We were looking in the west for a while and this suburb was the most undercapitalised. There is nothing in Rooty Hill with a similar offering,” he says. “The service we take for granted in the city – it’s hard to find around here.”
Unlike the other Society restaurants, Rooty Hill is an all-day venue offering a menu that includes breakfast; pastas; salads; and meats and fish cooked on the char-grill. Faro says the baked eggs (made in the woodfired oven) has been popular for breakfast. At lunch it’s the home-style gnocchi amatriciana made with guanciale (a type of Italian cured pork), pecorino and a pinch of chili that’s winning hearts.
There’s a cocktail list and the coffee is an Italian-style dark roast house-blend by Society Roasters.
It’s the woodfired pizzas, though, that remain the hero. Society’s trademark thin-crust pies are light, with pillowy charred edges and minimal toppings. There’s over 20 options available, including the crowd-pleasing salsiccia e porcini pizza with bufala, porcini mushroom, sausage and chilli. And on a white base, the “magic funghi”, topped with fior di latte, porcini mushroom, shaved Grana Padano and truffle oil.
If you’re partial to hazelnut spread, there’s a Nutella menu. It features a Nutella calzone with marshmallow, crushed nuts and strawberries. Or, if you’re rolling with a group, there’s a metre-long Nutella pizza topped with strawberries, banana and whipped cream.
Excluding the woodfired oven, which was handmade by a Napoli-trained builder in Melbourne, Faro and co-owner Arthur Papanikolaou are responsible for the space’s fit-out. The walls are lined with large-scale prints of Italian hand-gestures in the style of tarot cards.
“So many locals have said, ‘Thank you, this has been a long time coming, now we don’t have to travel far [for quality Italian food]’,” says Papanikolaou.