Less than a year after Dan Pepperell, Mikey Clift and Andy Tyson opened their Potts Point neo-bistro Bistrot 916, the trio chased it with this Italian-accented joint, in the corner terrace formerly occupied by Hamish Ingham’s lauded Bar H.
Pepperell’s approach of taking classic dishes and putting his own spin on them – a trademark in his past roles at French bistro Restaurant Hubert, and Italian diners Alberto’s Lounge and 10 William St – is again on display here. The burratta, rigatoni bolognaise and fritto misto are Italian staples you'll recognise. But order the luxurious prawn ravioli in rich brown butter-and-sage sauce, or the tart “limongello” (limoncello-flavoured jelly served in lemon peel in place of the fruit’s usual pulpy flesh) to see Pepperell’s creativity shine.
On Tyson’s wine list are mainly Italian drops, but there’s a scattering of Australians, too. Before or after wine, do be tempted by a cocktail. As with the food, the focus is on Italian classics, each with a little something extra. There’s also a big collection of Italian amari and grappas.
Taking inspiration from Italian garage-style trattorias, the entire restaurant is decorated with framed vintage photographs, packets of pasta, bottles of olive oil and fresh tomatoes, and fitted it out with a warm palette of gold, burnt orange and red.
A neon light reading “2000” leads you downstairs to a moody wine cellar that doubles as an intimate candlelit dining room. In the buzzy upstairs space are brown-leather banquettes, big picture windows, and a mix of indoor and outdoor seating. (On a warm evening, the hot ticket is to nab a stool on the footpath, at a window counter that faces inside to the bar.)
Less Italian is the soundtrack, an upbeat mix of West African, Middle Eastern, and Italian pop tracks.