Ortzi brings Basque back to Surry Hills

Omelette at Ortzi, Surry Hills.
Omelette at Ortzi, Surry Hills. Photo: Alana Dimou

What's the low down?

The team behind Darlinghurst casual Italian favourite Sagra have opened a Basque-inspired restaurant in Surry Hills.

There's salt cod, anchovies and all the paprika-spiked wood-roasted goodness you would expect to find in the Spanish north.

Winter-friendly Basque fare at Ortzi.
Winter-friendly Basque fare at Ortzi. Photo: Alana Dimou

When does it open?

Ortzi is open now for a casual lunch or dinner.

What's the cause for excitement?

The dining room at Ortzi, Surry Hills featuring tables handmade by the owners.
The dining room at Ortzi, Surry Hills featuring tables handmade by the owners. Photo: Alana Dimou

How many Basque-focused restaurants previously existed in Sydney? Not many, if any.

The Gure Txoko Basque Club in Darlinghurst rocks a $25 three-course lunch, perhaps featuring chicken braised in tomato with garlic potatoes, but that's only on a Sunday and you'll need to book. MoVida was pretty Basque-y but it closed in Surry Hills two years ago. Now there's a relaxed space in the neighbourhood again where you can drop in for a couple of pintxos and a sherry and be on your way, or take your time with a skirt steak enhanced by romesco ($34).

The restaurant is split over two levels and punctuated with Tasmanian oak table-tops and banquets and bars made by the Ortzi crew. (Ortzi means "sky" in Basque, by the way.)  

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What's on the menu?

Chef and co-owner Michael Otto is serving small plates like salt cod omelette with salsa rossa ($12), ajo blanco with muscatels ($8) and a lobster and celeriac roll ($14). Lamb and chorizo stew ($20) will help through the winter, as will whole roasted John Dory with white bean cassoulet ($39) and a char-grilled pork chop with wood-roasted apples ($36). A Basque rice pudding with Pedro Ximenez-soaked pears ($13) also seems like the right idea.

Anything else I need to know?

Flat (non-carbonated) cider is a popular Basque drink is well represented on a booze list that leans towards drops from northern Spain and southern France.

Mon-Sat noon-3pm; Mon-Wed 6pm-10pm; Thu-Sat 6pm-midnight

6 Hunt Street, Surry Hills, 02 9211 2414, ortzi.com.au