It’s a Thursday night and we’re at Hunky Dory Social Club for the Bruno’s restaurant launch headed by up Daniele Trimarchi (of Icebergs and Fratelli Paradiso fame.)
It’s the impending rain that has me looking up to check on the canopy, only to notice the antique fixie perched on the wall. I’m on a rooftop bar, knocking back cocktails, so of course there’s a bike on the wall, this is Darlinghurst after all.
Hunky Dory has been cleverly snuggled into a narrow 3 story terrace, the bar area spans over the top two floors while the ground floor is decked out in Cow Chique and is dedicated to Bruno’s. There’s a kitchen up back that’s kept busy all night serving up food to the diners as well as sending canapes up to the bar.
Our dinner is made all the more intimate by the hanging lights that dangle above the tables and for tonight, we’re getting up close and personal with a shared menu, table and seats as we all ready ourselves for the offerings of Daniele Trimarchi.
I can feel my eyes gleaming as I spot the Sicilian Olives glistening away as the shared platter of Olive Misto is set down at our table. Plump and juicy I have to resist the urge to squeeze them before biting down on the sweet firm flesh. I fell in love with green olives years ago while on holiday and to this day still prefer the give and texture over their softer cousins.
The pristine gleaming surface of the Goat Cheese and Spicy Cured Pork Pate lure me (and my knife) in like a moth to the flame. With a texture that spreads like butter, the Goat’s Cheese is addictive, but it’s the Pork Pate that kicks an unexpected punch that has me groping for my wine glass and another serving of Goat’s Cheese.
The Insalata Pimavera has a refreshing nuttiness to the crunch, with the walnuts and parmesan but it’s the slight bitterness to tongue that has us intrigued. In the end none of our guesses are right, and it turns out to be shaved Brussel Sprouts that we’ve been mulling over.
It’s the peaking blushes of vibrant red in the Insalata di Lenticchia that makes me veers towards it, they turn out to be Baby Beetroot cooked up just enough to retain a bit of its bite and combined with the blue lentils is surprisingly hearty.
There’s a meatball pizza floating around the table, but a recently found love for eggplant has me all over the Ortolana pizza. It’s a vegetarian explosion and I adore the Zucchini, eggplant and rocket combination.
While I have friends who would rather starve than eat a mushroom (I’m looking at you D & A!), dishes like Funghi della Nonna are so ridiculously good that I start to think that maybe a life as a vegetarian wouldn’t all that bad… Oozing cheese, crunchy pine nuts, all nestled inside a mushroom, it’s just crazy good.
There’s nothing quite like the orange sheen of Salmon, cured in vodka and beetroot neither have seem to have effected the sheen of the delicate slices of fish. Made all the better with tiny cubes of beetroot for a burst of sweetness that lingers on the tongue.
Full of amazing deep-fried potential, unfortunately the Calamari Fritti falls a little flat. The two plates of Calamari on our table are a study in contrasts with our particular plate being overly soggy and chewy. It’s a bit of a disappointment, and I find myself seeking out the smaller pieces which have fried up a little more successfully.
Of much more interest to me are the thick slices of grilled Haloumi which appear on the table, hiding beneath a curtain of roasted red peppers. They’re slightly squeaky to the bite, but I love it all and relish every bite with strands of red pepper all dragged through the olive oil and lime.
What was I thinking? I know that I love meat way too much to ever become a vegetarian.
With a smorgasbord of sides ranging from sweet pears, crispy fennel salad with popping sweetness of pomegranate to the apple sauce provided it’s almost overwhelming. In the end I find myself ignoring almost everything except for the soft soft pork belly and the crackling crumble that’s been scattered across the board.
I’m not ashamed to admit that I may have tried to eat every speck of crackling I could get my hands on.
There’s plenty left on the menu to be tried, but having sated ourselves on some hearty italian wine and red wine there’s really only one way to end the evening. Going on a road trip with the girls to Gelato Messina of course. Great success!
eatshow&tell dined as a guest of Hunky Dory Social Club.
Bruno’s, Hunky Dory Social Club
215 Oxford Street,
Ph: (02) 9331 0442