The crew behind Sydney's Love, Tilly Devine and Dear Saint Eloise is adding a third venue to their stable with the announcement of Ragazzi, their new Italian wine and pasta bar in the CBD.
Set to open in early August in Angel Place, Ragazzi is a joint project between Matthew Swieboda and Nathanial Hatwell (Love, Tilly Devine and Dear Sainte Éloise) and chef Scott Williams, and completes the latter's long-held dreams of opening an Italian-focused joint.
"We have a place that focuses on Australia natural wines with Love, Tilly Devine, and a place that's a least 50 per cent French at Dear Saint Éloise," says Swieboda. "But there's a third country that's producing wines that we're really excited about."
They're compiling a 250-strong list of wines by some of their favourite Italian growers, with a focus on lesser-known makers who have been producing wines for generations. Swieboda cites Montenidoli wines in Tuscany, who released their first vintage in 1971. "The winemaker, Elisabetta Fagioli, makes wine without any chemicals or in the vineyard forever because that's the way her grandfather made it," he says. "That kind of idea for me is really interesting. They're the people we want to champion.
Williams, formerly of nearby Bacco Osteria, will produce fresh pasta in-house, with a daily changing menu drawing inspiration from across Italy's regions. There's bar snacks too, which, thanks to Williams experience cooking in Madrid and Barcelona, will carry a Spanish-Italian bent.
With a modest 38-seat capacity, Swieboda says Ragazzi – the colloquial Italian word for "mate" – will be a neighbourly restaurant in the heart of the city. "In the CBD, there's lots of places you can go to spend a lot of money on big and brash establishments. We're trying to create something that's a little more personal," he says.
And with the impending completion of Sydney's light rail, has there been a better time for a wine bar to open in the CBD?
"It doesn't take a genius to see that once the it's finished, the city is going be completely revitalised," says Swieboda "It's been a challenging time for restaurateurs in the city for the last couple of years."And for the record, the lease for Ragazzi was signed by the time Merivale had announced the expansion of its Ivy precinct, located just across the road. "But it just highlights this is the right time to be doing this. I feel really confident."
Ragazzi is slated to open in early August at Shop 3, 2-12 Angel Pl, Sydney, Mon–Fri, 11am–midnight; Saturday 3pm–midnight.