212 Riley Street, Surry Hills
02 9215 5140
When you fancy a bite of traditional Italian fare a crazy god might not be the first thing to spring to mind - but you may want to take a look at Baccomatto.
Named after the Greek god of wine, Bacchus, with the suffix ‘matto’ which means crazy, you’ll be happy to hear that the dining experience is less the wild and wacky, and more the traditional Italian osteria experience.
Osterias are small Italian eateries that serve wine and simple food, such as pasta, grilled meat or fish, which is often enjoyed at shared tables. The word ‘osteria’ literally means ‘host’, so the emphasis is on real service as well as real food.
Owners Mauro Marcucci and Michael Stevens wanted to combine the concept of warm hospitality with good value, rustic, homemade Italian food similar to what you would find in the small towns and villages of Italy, and present it in the ultra-modern surrounds of Sydney.
Mauro hails from Rome and grew up in his grandmother’s kitchen. He has been behind many restaurants in Sydney and Melbourne, from Caffe e Cucina, Pizza e Birra and Ilbacaro to Beccofino and Enopizzeria, just to name a few. He is well-known on the Australian-Italian cuisine circuit, and his latest venture represents a step back to his roots:
“I’m more for rustic Italian,” he says, “fatti in casa (made in house), that’s what It’s all about and it’s how I’ve always experienced Italy.”
In partnership with Michael, Mauro found the ideal location on Riley Street in the heart of Surry Hills, close to the CBD, where they created an architecturally-designed space that would befit their concept. Two years later, the ‘neighbourhood restaurant’ is thriving and it has won several awards for food and service.
Head chef Valerio Boncompagni also hails from Rome. He and his team make everything on the premises, using local produce, using what’s available that particular week and what’s in season. This makes for a menu that changes regularly, with slight variations to some of the favourite recipes.
The menu largely features Italian comfort food with simple tastes and quality ingredients: a large variety of small plates with favourites like olives, Sicilian anchovies and sun-dried tomatoes, a range of salamis, prosciutto and other cold meats, and cheeses too. Mains include dishes like osso bucco, pappardelle with wild boar and chestnuts ragu, squid ink tagliolini with Alaskan king crab, gnocchi ‘Sorrentina’, char-grilled lamb rump or veal cutlet and pork fillet with sage and white wine, though these change regularly, as mentioned.
As you would expect with an osteria looking to create warmth and homeliness, the menu also features a good range of homemade desserts and is always well complemented by a selection of wines from around Italy, and the rest of Europe.
All this makes Baccomatto a great place for an after-work glass and a meal, a long lunch, a works function, or a romantic dinner for two. The venue is children-friendly and it also does takeaways, making it popular with the locals.