Our restaurant critics' picks of the latest and best eats around the country right now: L'Americano, Sydney.
The brief shared with Alex Kearns when he wrote the menu for
L'Americano was "The Talented Mr Ripley". Given that the
room is all timber, leather, Venetian trinkets and miniature
runabouts, and the (apparent) absence of homoerotically charged
duplicity and murder, I'm guessing they were thinking more of the
sumptuous mise-en-scène of Anthony Minghella's 1999 film treatment
and less the twisted psychology and elegant froideur of Patricia
Highsmith's 1955 novel of the same name. Anyway, in practice it
means that Kearns, whose day job is running the kitchen at Glebe Point
Diner, has written a menu that reads a bit like Harry's Bar as
played for Alexandria's designer-pram set. It's a small work of
genius. L'Americano is a new café that's part of Coco Republic. It opens onto noisy
O'Riordan Street, so you can access it without going through the
store, but also offers the perfect pick-me-up for the homewares
lover overwhelmed by choice after a morning spent perusing the
likes of vintage surveyor sticks ($695), a very large eight-ball
($1195) and mounted faux sawfish bills ($595). There's the tiny,
perfect sandwiches - golden pan-fried fennel salami, say, or a
Waldorfy chicken number on sliced white - plus judiciously topped
crostini and decent coffee. The pastries are bought-in and
unimpressive, but the "signature" chopped cos and radicchio salad
is a thing of joy. It's big on herbs, dressed with finesse and
punctuated with feta, figs, cherry tomatoes, walnuts and shreds of
pancetta. A tip of the hat to the talented Mr Kearns.
L'Americano, 34 O'Riordan St, Alexandria, NSW, (02) 9318 1442.
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