With the backlog of postponed restaurant launches finally set to clear, one of the first out of the gates next week will be the Bondi Beach project from Fratelli Paradiso co-owner Marco Ambrosino and restaurant veteran Manny Spinola.
Lola's Level 1 will open on October 15, sliding into the former home of Panama House on Campbell Parade, the space having received a head-to-toe makeover.
Lola's moody interior is a different take for the beach. "We purposely went for a slightly darker look, which will hopefully work just as well with a Bondi winter," says Spinola, who has a stable of Sydney venues, including the Tea Room QVB.
Lola's was among the Sydney restaurants on the cusp of opening when lockdowns hit earlier this year. While the delay is estimated to have cost in excess of $500,000 in lost revenue, its owners are philosophical about the setback.
"Usually when you open there's something not finished," says Ambrosino. "We're all there."
Chef Paola Pantano used the extra time to fine tune the opening menu, recalibrating it to spring dining.
Ambrosino and his partners have an enviable track record picking kitchen talent at Fratelli Paradiso and 10 William (he remains involved at both), and the restaurateur says they've found another rising star in Pantano.
"Her knowledge is amazing and she has real passion," Ambrosino says. He predicts Pantano's dish of socarrat – the crispy bottom of paella – served with peas and horseradish, and a "lasagnetta" of ossobuco ragu and gremolata, will be the stars of the opening menu.
Desserts swing from a saffron mascarpone semifreddo to a deluxe cannoli made from wattleseed flour, says Ambrosino. Ricotta with candied yuzu and chocolate filling are piped inside and the end is covered in caramelised pistachio crumble.
Hospo veteran Luca Capecchi is stepping in as general manager and Louis West (ex Bentley Group) has curated the wine list and will manage Lola's bar.
Open daily noon-10pm.
Level 1, 180-186 Campbell Parade, Bondi Beach, 02 9085 5888, lolaslevel1.com.au