Before Jared Merlino took on Bartolo in 2020, it was very much in league with Sydney’s old-school Italian joints. But then “caffe” was dropped from the name, the coffee machine was evicted, and now the places feels more in step with Merlino’s other venues Kittyhawk, The Lobo, and late-night favourite Big Poppa’s.
Former Big Poppa’s executive chef Liam Driscoll – the man responsible for that restaurant’s popular lamb ragu pappardelle – is behind the menu here. You might start with gnocco fritto and anchovy butter; and scampi with preserved lemon and caper butter, fermented chilli and crispy curry leaves.
Pastas are house-made (Bartolo shares a pasta machine with Big Poppa’s), with past hits such as spaghetti with Italian sausage, clams and Calabrian hot sauce; and ruffled mafaldine tossed with zucchini, herbs, chilli, lemon and Parmigiano Reggiano.
The space has been painted a moody dark blue, and shelving has been added to house the wine collection, which sits at around 200 bottles and counting.
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