In this town, delayed DAs are discussed with world-weary contempt. This paperwork? That red tape? It's a ring of fire for the chef who dares take the perilous journey to opening their own restaurant.
But for Don Peppino's, the DA-dance is a blessing. The good-times Italian restaurant was only ever a temporary venture, opening for 12 months at the former Grand Pacific Blue Room nightclub in October last year. The site is earmarked for demolition and development but – spoiler – the process is running behind schedule. The result? Don Peppino's has snagged an extra six months on their lease, meaning that grand entry staircase will stay neon-lit well into February 2020.
"We're stoked with the extension, especially since it feels like Sydney's having a downturn at the moment – there's someone closing every week," says floor manager Tom Merryweather, who co-owns the restaurant with chefs Daniel Johnston and Harry Levy. "We're looking forward to another fun summer and turning up the 'vibe dial'."
And it's likely that dial will go all the way to 11. The Full Circle collective, recently returned from a culinary research trip to Italy, have grand plans for the warmer months. "In Italy, we were having granita and espresso for breakfast," says Merryweather. "I think Harry is scouring Gumtree every day for a slushy machine."
The pane fritto with anchovy, a mainstay last summer, is making a comeback; so too that tonnarelli with prawn and radicchio, and they're waiting with bated breath for the incoming tomato season. ("Last year's was trash," says Johnston.) Those warm bread rolls, stuffed to the gills with caramelised garlic butter, are here to stay, though the chestnutty monte bianco will make way for those lemon sorbet cups (there are plans for a passionfruit version come summer). Just don't become too attached to any one dish – the menu changes every fortnight.
Then there's those Sunday lunch sessions held on the last weekend of each month. "We only do one sitting. No one is rushed out, and you can have a long, lazy lunch," says Merryweather.
It's looking like another season of summer lovin' is on its way. Pull up a chair.
Don Peppino's 1 Oxford St, Paddington, NSW, (02) 9326 9302, donpeppinos.com.au. Open Wed-Sat 6pm-midnight.