It's summer in Sydney which means sun, surf, sand and gallons of spritz. Here are five new and improved venues to facilitate said cocktail and delicious food.
Casual Italian eateries have been the feel good hit of 2018 with Don Peppino's, Bella Brutta and Bonnie's leading the pack. See also: Alberto, below. Merivale's latest take on the genre is Totti's which opened at Bondi Road's Royal Hotel last week.
Schnitzel and sage at Totti's. Photo: Nikki To
The combined and considerable forces of Pinbone's Mike Eggert and former Neil Perry right-hand-bloke Khan Danis lead the kitchen, wood-firing rib-eyes and whole fish designed to share. The Royal's front bar has been slinging cold ones since 1907 and there are still schnitzels (veal rump or pork) to accompany your schooner in the sun-dappled courtyard.
Totti's at The Royal, Bondi. Photo: Nikki To
Gosh darn, the pastas look like a cracking pub lunch too, and at this point it should mentioned you can order a litre of negroni for $95.
To eat: Rigatoni with milk-braised pork and chilli ($28).
To drink: Lucy Margaux 2018 Petillant-Naturel ($64).
Open: Mon-Sat 11:30am-midnight; Sun 11:30am-10pm.
283 Bondi Road, Bondi, 02 9114 7371, merivale.com/venues/tottis
The old Berta bolthole is back with a bang. Team Swillhouse (Restaurant Hubert, Frankies) have gifted Surry Hills a magical little spot for bucatini all'amatriciana and macerto vino by the glass. Chef Dan Pepperell channels his 10 William Street days with Italo-Oz classics bolstered by panache such as acqua pazza peppers (you'll want bread on the side) and wide tubes of paccheri glistening with bolognese.
The moon in artist Allie Webb's laneway mural hits your eye like a big cotoletta, especially when you're at a table rich with natural light by the window. The best part – on top of an orange house wine co-owner Anton Forte made with Joe Holyman in the Tamar Valley – is Alberto's willingness is to open right through lunch and dinner all weekend. Taking in the 1970s Italian vibes with a whisky at the bar is also encouraged.
To eat: Gnocchi al cacio e pepe ($26).
To drink: Alice Bonaccorsi 'RossoRelativo' 2013 Nerello ($17/$99).
Open: Mon-Thu 5pm-midnight; Fri-Sat noon-midnight; Sun noon-10pm.
17-19 Alberta Street, Sydney, albertoslounge.com
The Duke of Enmore (nee Edinburgh). Photo: Supplied
The Duke of Enmore
James Wirth and Michael Delany are responsible for some of Sydney's best pokie-free pubs of the past decade with venues such as The Norfolk, Forresters and Oxford Tavern facilitating ripper booze, food and party times. The International Worldwide (nee Drink 'n' Dine) crew sold those hotels in 2016 but they're back and up to their old trick of transforming a ho-hum pub into a joint the local community can get behind.
Enmore's Duke of Edinburgh is their latest project, reopening last week with more windows, new timber features and tartan carpet pretty much begging for Resch's to be sloshed on it.
Chef Toby Wilson (Bad Hombres, Ghostboy Cantina) is on the pans and a few pub classics have been given a plant-based makeover – salt-and-pepper enoki mushrooms, hello. They join a grilled bologna sandwich, porchetta roll and LP's Quality Meats charcuterie plate.
Porchetta roll at The Duke of Enmore. Photo: Supplied
A 2am licence means there's plenty of time to get across the natural goodness of a wine list created by Joel Amos, head booze guy of retailer DRNKS.
To eat: Porchetta, white beans, salsa verde and greens ($26).
To drink: Goldy G&T featuring double Goldy gin, tonic and grilled meyer lemon ($17).
Open: Mon-Wed 11am-midnight; Thu-Sat; 11am-2am; Sun 11am-10pm.
148 Enmore Road, Enmore, 02 9519 1935, thedukeofenmore.com.au
Rosenbaum & Fuller, Bondi. Photo: Paul Christian
Rosenbaum & Fuller
Bondi has experienced a bumper 12 months of venue openings with Ode, The Pacific Club and Maurice Terzini's Bondi Beach Public Bar leading the pack. Award-winning bartender Lee Potter Cavanagh (ex Victoria Room) joined the beach party in December with a smart-casual bar and restaurant focused on Aussie producers and (mostly) plant-based eating.
Rob Rietveld (ex Clareville Kiosk) leads an all-day kitchen rocking leek terrine, chickpea kofta, a smoked tempeh sandwich and kombucha ice-block. Beers are Australian, native ingredients enhance cocktails and coffee is roasted by the local legends at Edition.
To eat: Beetroot tartare with classic condiments ($15).
To drink: Whisky with mountain pepper, citrus and honey ($21).
Open: Mon-Sat 8am-midnight; Sun 8am-10pm.
13 O'Brien Street, Bondi Beach, rosenbaumandfuller.com
Scallops with corn puree and salmon roe at Barrenjoey House Palm Beach. Photo: Supplied
By no means is Barrenjoey House new – Neil Perry rattled pans at the Palm Beach landmark in the '80s and punters enjoyed sunset drinks on its porch at least 60 years before that. Legend has it the guesthouse was the first place in Palm Beach with a telephone.
A recent makeover by new owners Pip and Andrew Goldsmith (The Boathouse Group) qualifies the stalwart for inclusion on this list. The bar has expanded, dark floorboards have been painted white and the Goldsmiths have reclaimed antique Barrenjoey House furniture auctioned off to locals over the years.
Barrenjoey House now under Boathouse management. Photo: Supplied
The kitchen reopened this week headed by Boathouse group executive chef Thom Williamson and day-trippers can expect easygoing dishes such as prawn cocktails, rare yellowfin tuna spaghetti and scallops topped with salmon roe and corn puree. Boathouse fish and chips, naturally, are on the carte too, and boutique accommodation is coming in 2019.
To eat: Beer-battered flathead with chips, tartare and lemon ($29).
To drink: Grosset 'Springvale' 2018 Riesling ($18/$95).
Open: Tue-Sun noon-10pm.
1108 Barrenjoey Road, Palm Beach, 02 9974 4001, barrenjoeyhouse.com.au