Healthy Eating

We're championing fresh food that packs a flavour punch, from salads and vegetable-packed bowls to grains and light desserts.

Subscribe to Gourmet

Subscribe to Australian Gourmet Traveller and receive a copy of Nordic Light - offer ends 23 April 2017.

Gourmet digital

Subscribe to Gourmet Traveller for your iPad or Android tablet.

Food-truck tribulations
29.03.2017

Chicken or pork? Kelly Eng takes on a food-truck challenge but fails to cement her millennial credentials.

Take me to the river
29.03.2017

For serial cruisers who have done the Danube and knocked off the Nile, less familiar waterways beckon.

Gourmet Institute is back for 2017
29.03.2017

Fire-up the stove, tie on your favourite apron and let’s get cooking, food fans. This year’s line-up is brimming with talent.

The Royal Mail Hotel is changing
28.03.2017

Executive chef Robin Wickens has a stronger influence at the Royal Mail Hotel's upcoming restaurant, slated to open later this year.

Adventuring along America's north-west rivers
28.03.2017

The rivers of America's north-west running through Washington state and Oregon form the arteries of epic landscapes and bold discovery routes. Emma Sloley follows in the wake of Lewis and Clark.

The World's Best sommeliers are coming to Australia
28.03.2017

For the first time, the world's top international sommeliers will take part in the World's 50 Best Awards too.

Seven Italian dishes that shaped fine dining in the 2000s
28.03.2017

Italian food in the restaurants of Australia blossomed into maturity in the new millennium, as the work of these trailblazers shows – dazzling and diverse, a successful balance between adaptation and tradition.

Steam ovens: a guide
27.03.2017

Billed as the faster, cleaner way to cook, are these on-trend ovens all they’re cracked up to be? We take a close look at their rising popularity, USP versus the traditional convection cooker and how each type rates in terms of form, function, and above all, flavour in this buyer’s guide.

Fast autumn dinners

Autumn weather signals the arrival of soups, broths, roasts and more hearty meals.

Flour and Stone Recipes

Baker extraordinaire Nadine Ingram of Sydney's Flour and Stone cooks up a sweet storm for Easter, including the much loved bakery's greatest hit.

Roasted cauliflower salad with yoghurt dressing and almonds

The cauliflower is roasted until it starts to caramelise, which adds extra depth of flavour to this winning salad. Serve it warm or at room temperature.

All Star Yum Cha

What happens the morning after the World’s 50 Best Restaurants awards? We treat the chefs to a world-beating yum cha session, as Dani Valent discovers.

Lemon tart

It's really important to seal the pastry well to prevent any seepage during cooking, and to trim the pastry soon after cooking. Let the tart cool in the tin before removing it, or it will crack.

Melbournes finest meet Worlds Best

Leading chefs descend on Melbourne in April for The World’s 50 Best Restaurants. We asked local hospitality folk who they’d abduct for the day and where they’d take them to show off their city. There may be coffee, there may be culture, but in the end it’s cocktails.

Spelt cashew and broccoli bowl with yoghurt dressing

This nicely textured salad transports well, making it ideal for picnics or to take to barbecues. The broccoli can be kept raw and shaved on a mandolin, too.

Bali's new wave of restaurants, hotels and bars

The restaurant and hotel scene on Australia's favourite holiday island has never been more exciting and Australian chefs, owners and restaurateurs are leading the charge, writes Samantha Coomber.

Fratelli Paradiso, Sydney restaurant review

A bastion of Italian restaurant culture and more Melbourne than Sydney in style, Fratelli Paradiso is a place where locals come for the ever-charming waiters as much as the gutsy food.

It might look more like a café on first glance, but Fratelli Paradiso is a beacon and reliquary of true Italian restaurant culture. The beacon sits on Challis Avenue in Potts Point, a boundlessly chi-chi neighbourhood known for its table-hopping restaurant culture, ground-zero for the myth of the kitchenless Sydney apartment, but not what you'd otherwise call a hotbed of good Italian eating. Fratelli means 'brothers' - in this case the lyrically surnamed Enrico and Giovanni 'Johnny' Paradiso, who opened the place in 2001 after moving from Melbourne, and were later joined by partner Marco Ambrosino. The boys had previously owned a place called Mamadu at Southbank, but it's in Sydney that the brothers Paradise and their crew have carved their niche, made their bones. It's slightly ironic, mind, because everyone describes Fratelli Paradiso as being as Melbourne as all get-out.

The niche in question is a U-shaped conjoining of two rooms beneath an apartment building, with a bakery to the left, where you may also be seated for dinner, and the dining room proper at the right. The general look is dark - verging on too dark - urbane and pretty darn sexy. Sexy and loud, that is; simmering just below raucous is the restaurant's natural volume setting. A long awning and quite a few outside tables make for marginally calmer dining, not to mention people-watching pole position.

The vibe is café/wine bar, but the cutlery is good and weighty, there's flake salt and a pepper grinder on each table, and the bread, fresh from the ovens next door, is impeccable. Wine is a fascination for the brothers, and the double-sided, double-spaced A4 list of mostly Italian bottles, with a fair whack by the glass, is the fruit of their own Italian fact-finding missions.

You can either read the short menu from the blackboard - it's in Italian, naturally - or have it recited to you tableside. The waiters choose to give it to you and two other tables at once. They know the menu inside out and the wine list like the back of their hand. These waiters are far from invisible and constitute a large part of whatever it is that makes Paradiso paradiso. There's certainly attitude here, but it never comes unaccompanied by flashes of charm. That element of pride - there's no doubt who's running the show here, and it isn't the people sitting down with forks in their hands - will remind some diners of Melbourne's Caffé e Cucina and others of Italy. I'd categorise the pacing more like an Italian than Swiss watch; the waits aren't interminable, but are slightly more elastic than what Sydney crowds are used to. Good humour shared between the regulars and the unflinchingly confident staff, though, goes a long way on the floor.

Food walks the line between café and tratt, with an emphasis on gutsy flavours. The antipasto this week is a plate of sweet prosciutto, cubes of melon, a fried zucchini flower and green olives stuffed with goat's curd and ricotta, crumbed and deep-fried. It's excellent, everything is on the plate for a reason, and there's none of the usual tired filler. You could happily subsist on little more than a bottle of vermentino and, say, 40 of the stuffed olives alone. Pork poached in milk and then pulled apart into juicy shreds makes a fine base for a salad, and is a great example of how the kitchen throws curveballs, bringing some real creativity and diversity to the menu without resorting to bells and whistles. They also do the best take on eggplant parm in town, stuffing an eggplant pocket with buffalo mozzarella and tomatoes, crumbing it and then giving it a quick dip in the deep-fryer. Then there's the calamari Sant' Andrea, named for both the chef who made it, Andrea Mantese (a Caffé e Cucina alumnus, Mantese cooked at the restaurant when it first opened, and has popped up in the kitchen again lately), and the patron saint of fishermen. It's squid rings simply floured, flash-fried and served with a balsamic dressing. It's served on rocket, but isn't rocket science, just a good idea done well and left to stand on its merits. They've also been brave enough to keep the lasagne al forno, straight-up in its own little gratin dish, static on the otherwise ever-changing menu.

There's the occasional pothole in what is otherwise a pretty smooth ride. Jewfish with celeriac mash is something you could find at any given 50 Mod Oz restaurants around the country; serviceable, but not particularly vibrant or memorable. That service-as-performance vibe has its downsides, and attention to detail can be a casualty. Orders for water will get lost, one ($50-plus) wine will be opened with no offer of a taste, while another cheaper bottle is. Bread will come but the oil or butter will be forgotten, even during a relatively calm lunch service. Catch the waiters' eyes, though, and such slips are corrected quickly and with good grace. Regulars put it down as part of the restaurant's charm.

And that's the thing - when Fratelli Paradiso is on song, it really is a very special package, with much more than just charm to its name. This correspondent swore off pumpkin risotto a decade ago, however, Fratelli's version, made with barely cooked fine slivers of pumpkin, still clearly discerned against the grains of just-cooked rice, has me reconsidering the position. A garnish of three zucchini flowers, simply battered and fried takes it to the next level. Lamb ragù really pops in the mouth, full of fresh, meaty flavours, and afflicted by none of the beigeness or tomato-acid overload that mars many dishes of its kind. Ladled over gnocchi alla Romana (the baked cheese-topped Roman semolina gnocchi that's the platonic ideal of the cheesy bake), it makes for dining that will leave you humming all day.

Desserts are good, too. There's quite a bit of chocolate on the menu, and a pretty good tiramisù, but my pick of the recent offerings was a lush, saffron-spiked semifreddo. Better still, there's an impressive selection of Italian cheese and no shortage of good grappe and digestivi.

Fratelli Paradiso is hard to pigeonhole. They pursue the things that interest them, and do most of it well, stopping up the gaps with that brand of panache and sleight of hand so particular to the Italian restaurant game. It's not something best enjoyed passively, but an experience that gives as good as it gets. It's a collaborative work-in-progress, an ongoing project for a group of cooks and waiters, diners and bon viveurs whose preferred medium is the art of having a good time. Bravo.


Fratelli Paradiso

12-16 Challis Ave, Potts Point, NSW, (02) 9357 1744. Licensed. Mon-Fri, 7am-11pm; Sat-Sun, 7am-5pm. Major cards accepted.

Prices Entrées $17-$21; mains $18-$29; desserts $12.

Noise Noisy.

Vegetarian Usually an entrée and a pasta or risotto.

Wheelchair access Yes.

Plus The spirit of Italy, generally good value and fun.

Minus Not strong on detail.

Fratelli Paradiso

12-16 Challis Ave, Potts Point, NSW, (02) 9357 1744. Licensed. Mon-Fri, 7am-11pm; Sat-Sun, 7am-5pm. Major cards accepted.

Prices Entrées $17-$21; mains $18-$29; desserts $12.

Noise Noisy.

Vegetarian Usually an entrée and a pasta or risotto.

Wheelchair access Yes.

Plus The spirit of Italy, generally good value and fun.

Minus Not strong on detail.

GT
Signature Collection

Find out more about the Gourmet Traveller Signature Collection by Robert Gordon Australia, including where to buy it in store and online.

Read More
Recipe collections

Looking for ways to make the most out of seasonal produce? Want to find a recipe perfect for a party? Or just after fresh ideas for dessert? Either way, our recipe collections have you covered.

See more
2017 Restaurant Guide

Our 2017 Restaurant Guide is online, covering over 400 restaurants Australia wide. Never wonder where to dine again.

See more

You might also like...

Bang, Sydney restaurant review

Panache could be a watchword for Bang, Surry Hills’ first fo...

Sydney's new cult burger, layer by layer

Sokyo's Chase Kojima's new project is something completely n...

Silvereye to close this August

Chef Sam Miller is heading back to the UK.

Back to the 1980s at Bennelong

A collection documenting the life of the Sydney Opera House ...

Chase Kojima's rice burger bar opens this week

Prepare to hold a new style of burger glory – wrapped in ric...

Balla

Pronounce it "bah-la" for Piedmont-born artist and composer...

Fish Face

THIS RESTAURANT HAS CLOSED. Sydney's two best fish cooks, ...

Bar H

Is it a bar with good food or a restaurant with a good bar?...

Buon Ricordo

Buon Ricordo exudes Italianness. Passion and professionalis...

A Tavola

Sydney is spoilt for choice when it comes to Italian food a...

Da Orazio Pizza + Porchetta

Ever wondered why friends who live in Bondi never leave? A ...

Efendy

Chef Somer Sivrioglu aims to rescue the reputation of the k...

Felix

The Merivale group's homage to the French brasserie is well...

The Fish Shop

You can try and kid yourself by sticking to the raw and cur...

Flying Fish

Here is a restaurant writ large in size, form and aspect - ...

get the latest news

Sign up to receive the latest food, travel and dining news direct from Gourmet Traveller headquarters.

×