A terrazzo bar where you can take your morning espresso. An outdoor terrace for daily aperitivi. And a mozzarella bar stocked with several different varieties of La Stella cheese. No, you're not in Milan; this is Matteo Downtown, the second Sydney restaurant from Italian chef Orazio D'Elia, who won many a Sydneysider's heart with his light pizzas at Da Orazio Pizza + Porchetta before opening Matteo last year with partners Adam Abrams and Eddie Levy.
At his Double Bay restaurant, D'Elia doubled-down on the craft of pizza-making, proving the dough twice for an even airier result. At the CBD venue, however, the pizza will take a backseat to make room for northern Italian dishes and what D'Elia describes as classics. That could include osso bucco or filetto alla Rossini, a heartstopping trio of beef fillet, foie gras and truffle.
"These dishes are things people have forgotten about," D'Elia says.
Befitting its city location, the restaurant will open from seven in the morning and serve food all day. Styled on the grand restaurants of Milan or Rome, D'Elia wants it to be the kind of place that's always full, whether people are sitting down to a three-course lunch in the dining room or stopping at the bar for a quick panino. Those will be filled with cheese from La Stella, who specialise in ricotta, mozzarella and other stretched-curd cheeses, and salumi including David Blackmore breasola and a capocollo of Kurobuta pork neck cured in-house.
Other lunch options for those on the clock include minute steaks, oysters or pasta, while for breakfast there's both à la carte dishes such as eggs in purgatory or pastries to nibble on with coffee in the bar. Take your pick from sfogliatelle, cornetti or a piece of plum cake. Two wood-fired ovens will power the menu, with one reserved for pizza and the other used to roast whole fish, for example. Then there's the mozzarella bar, where you'll be able to choose exactly the type of cheese you'd like on your focaccia or ask for it antipasto-style.
Fans of the Italian tradition of aperitivo are catered for, with a seasonal Spritz menu, wine on tap, Negronis and beer accompanied by a selection of snacks that change each day. D'Elia is adamant that, as per aperitvi in Italy, there'll be no charge for the bites that come with each drink. Italian and Australian wines, flagship labels and smaller producers will make up the wine list.
Acme & Co – the firm behind the interiors at Fred's and Archie Rose Distilling Co – are overseeing the fit-out, while Australian artist Daimon Downey will select 44 pieces of art that will cover the wall above the bar. Stretching for 10 metres, the eye-catching arrangement will be visible throughout the restaurant thanks to large windows separating the dining room and bar. An outdoor terrace is also planned.
Matteo Downtown will open mid-August.
Matteo Downtown, 20 Bond St, Sydney, NSW, matteosydney.com.