As one of Sydney's late-night bar tsars, Jared Merlino is lucky to eat breakfast let alone serve it at one of his venues.
With the opening this week of his latest venture, Caffe Bartolo, the co-owner of Big Poppa's, Kittyhawk and Lobo Plantation is seguing into more food-led territory than he's previously been used to, breakfast included.
Merlino enthuses about the opening menu from chef Teofilo Nobrega (a 13-year veteran at Fratelli Paradiso who spent the past five years there as head chef) like someone who hasn't eaten breakfast in years.
He's particularly fond of the granola, which Nobrega tops with citrus zest and pinenuts.
The chef admits Fratelli is firmly in his cooking DNA, and there will be plenty of pastas on the menu (as well as a nod to Merlino's grandmother's meatballs), but he thinks it's dishes like spatchcock with caramelised lemon that are just as likely to become signatures.
Caffe Bartolo is bathed in a timeless swathe of red leather and marble, Merlino saying the venue – in the former bills site in Surry Hills – is hopefully here to stay.
"Everything is coming together. I used to eat at Fratelli Paradiso two or three times a week, I always loved Teo's food," Merlino says.
"We've got an espresso bar, we'll go all day until midnight then I'll send them to Big Poppa's."
Open daily 7am-12pm.
Caffe Bartolo, 353-355 Crown Street, Surry Hills.