Food News

Full Circle take over Wilbur’s Place, Potts Point

The popular pop-up restaurant team is back with a new Italian installment for the summer.

Cavatelli with tomato and clams

Lucien Alperstein

The popular pop-up restaurant team is back with a new Italian installment for the summer.

Full Circle has turned being around for a good time rather than a long time into something of an art. The team of former Vini staffers (chef Daniel Johnston, floor manager Tom Merryweather and cheesemaker Kristen Allan) made friends fast with their celebrated Sydney pop-ups, Chippendale’s The Eat In, and Alfio’s in Leichhardt, and this summer they’ll strike again with Wilmer.

Slated to open 1 December on the site formerly known as Wilbur’s Place in Potts Point, Wilmer will see Johnston cooking alongside former Alfio’s chef Harry Levy in something of a summer fling.

Both cooks have been doing a French(ish) thing over the past year – Johnston at Restaurant Hubert and Levy at Bar Brosé – but Johnston says they’ve both been hankering to get back to the cooking they’re most passionate about: Italian. “We share a mad love for the south from the time we’ve both spent there,” says Johnston. “We can’t wait to get back in the kitchen together and cook this style of food.”

In the past Full Circle has been all about set menus and BYO, but Wilmer will be an à la carte affair, complete with wine list and all. “Given the tiny space, we’d much rather try and create a bustling, flow-in, flow-out pasta and table wine-style vibe this time,” says Johnston. The restaurant seats around 15 inside, with another 12 seats outside for walk-ins.

The chefs have laid hands on a pasta extruder from Italy and there’s talk of firing up the old bread oven, too. The menu is likely to change once or twice a week, or “as it suits”, depending on what’s available.

Warm ricotta and greens.

Dinner might start with house-made ciabatta and warm ricotta, followed by artichokes alla giudìa, gnocchi with nettle and pecorino, and mulloway with shellfish butter. On another day, it might be shell beans and clams, say, ahead of aged beef rump with anchovy mayo. On the sweet side, desserts will lean to the refreshing likes of roasted peaches with zabaglione, a simple almond tart, or a slice of cold watermelon. “Boom,” says Johnston. “Holidays.”

Wilmer will call on neighbours and friends to get involved on the drinks side. Near-neighbours Room 10 do the filter coffee, and Adelaide Hills winery Manon is blending the house wine. “I’ve spent time in Italy and all around Europe, and when I come back I’m always disappointed you can’t get half a litre of table wine,” says Johnston. “It’s not super-special but it’s tasty and really good with an awesome bowl of chewy extruded pasta.”

Wilmer’s opening hours are still being finalised, but dinner is expected to run Monday to Saturday from around 5pm, and there’s potential to do the odd-Sunday lunch.

“We hope to bring the good vibes, cook some killer food and ‘make party’, just for the season,” says Johnston. “Like a great trip for three months, with your friends.” Sign us up.

Wilmer opens 1 December at 36 Llankelly Pl, Potts Point, NSW. 0401 829 216, 

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