Uccello nabs former Sagra owner Nigel Ward as head chef

Nigel Ward is joining Uccello as head chef.
Nigel Ward is joining Uccello as head chef. Photo: Steven Woodburn

With even the pointy end of Sydney society having to put plans for a Mediterranean trip this year on hold, we might have found the next best thing.

Ivy's rooftop Uccello restaurant and pool is finally reopening in late October, and has nabbed one of the city's best Italian food talents.

Nigel Ward, the former chef-owner at the award-winning Sagra restaurant, who was last seen in the kitchen at Fratelli Paradiso, is stepping into the head chef role at Uccello.

New dishes, including Cape Moreton scarlet prawns with finger lime, coming to the menu.
New dishes, including Cape Moreton scarlet prawns with finger lime, coming to the menu. Photo: Steven Woodburn

Ward has been on the watch list of Uccello owner Merivale for some time. One of its team – an unabashed Ward fan – famously ate at Sagra on five consecutive services when it was still under his ownership.

The chef will bring his brand of Italian food, with a sprinkling of some of the elevated produce Merivale gets its hands on. The opening menu has plenty of promise, with Cape Moreton scarlet prawns with finger lime, Melanda Park suckling pig and Ulladulla ruby snapper all set to make an appearance.

If it's sounding like an exclusive Italian beach club, Ward was a little surprised to find the famed pool empty when he paid his first visit.

"It's being retiled, but it'll be back up and running for the reopening," he says.