In our current world, a change is as good as a holiday. And while we may not be able to travel to the sun-drenched Mediterranean just yet, we can slip into our finest linen and slink down to D'Albora Marinas for a leisurely waterside lunch at Ormeggio at The Spit.
Post-lockdown, the longstanding Italian fine-diner underwent renovations and resurfaced as a more laidback, "alla moda" version of itself. Less drab, more fab. No meat, all seafood.
Inside, stuffy upholstered armchairs have made way for on-trend rattan and timber ones. Complementing them are vintage Turkish rugs, sheer curtains and a hint of brass. An impressive marble cocktail and gelato bar stretches down one side of the room; behind it, vases decorate a textured stucco wall. The updated space is fresh and fashionable – a far cry from the original 2010 fit-out.
The dining room isn't the only thing to receive a makeover. In response to an ever-growing trend, chef-owner Alessandro Pavoni shifted the offering to pescatarian, which makes sense for a venue so close to the sea you could dip your toes between courses.
Once you've settled in and sufficiently ogled the luxury vessels moored metres away, order an assaggini (small taste) or two. It could be a plump pasta bottoni (button) floating in delicately smoked eel consommé, its goat's curd filling ready to burst. Or a baton of golden fried brioche crowned with yellowfin tuna and jewel-like roe – a textural treat held together with silken pistachio cream.
Head chef Gianmarco Pardini employs clever cooking techniques so at no point during the meal will you be searching for a wafer of wagyu or piece of pork. Take the swordfish "porchetta" for example, which sees the fish opened like a book, filled with herbs and capers, then rolled up and cooked until just opaque. Thin slices are served with salsa verde (made à la minute) and topped with crisp fish-skin crackling. It's light and zingy, although an extra glug of olive oil wouldn't go astray.
Larger dishes range from pasta and an impressive mud crab risotto to locally sourced fish, including a fillet of New South Wales Murray cod, which is baked in a salt crust with lemon leaves. The accompanying preserved lemon and macadamia sauce is rich and fatty, much like the fish itself.
The wine list favours Italy with a few Australian and New Zealand favourites thrown in for good measure.
It may not be the Amalfi Coast, but with an Aperol Spritz in one hand and a goblet of gelato in the other, it's darn convincing.