Housed in what was once cosy trattoria La Tavolaccia, Ombretta was founded by Niccolo Fagherazzi (previously of Fratelli Fresh) and Michael Schiavello (formerly of Blackwattle Cafe), Ombretta’s number plate signage prides the colours of Italy’s football team, hanging above the wrought iron gates of the brick courtyard at the front.
Floral tiles sprawl near the bay windows and the glass cabinet of antipasti in terracotta dishes. Dimmed industrial lights loom above olives, marinated anchovies, char-grilled vegetables, prosciutto shavings and cheese wedges, making the house antipasto selection (antipasto della casa) a mandatory starter. Exposed bricks and vintage ceiling art feature above, while bicycle wheels decorated with straw adorn the mint green walls. Five clocks, all reading the same time, line another wall opposite the tiled bar. Venezia (Venice), Sirolo, Torino (Turin), Lucca and Vibo Valentia all make an appearance here, replacing worldly cities with treasured Italian towns.
The blackboard menu is divided into four sections – antipasti, primi, secondi and dolci – and changes regularly. Beside the house antipasto selection, other antipasti include involtini of cabbage with ricotta and vegetables (an alternative for those not keen on cured meats). Dishes here are rustic, generously portioned and perfect for sharing. Try risotto with chunks of delicate porcini mushrooms (risotto al funghi porcini) or orecchiette with broccoli florets and a strong kick of chilli. Tender beef cheeks fall apart with aromatic lentils, while the whole grilled snapper keeps diners content.
Dolci is celebrated with a slice of warm house-made pasticera napoletana, a traditional ricotta cake with candied fruit originating from Naples, bathing in a puddle of crème anglaise.