Once the sun goes down, the most innovative, eye catching and sought after concentration of bars, clubs, restaurants and cafes in Sydney are found in Kings Cross or its immediate neighbor, Darlinghurst. While just a few hundred metres apart there is fierce rivalry for ultimate supremacy with the balance tilting between the two every five years or so. As the most popular destination few would argue Kings Cross is the current title holder but the closure of three landmark institutions along with the opening of fresh and exciting nightspots in Darlinghurst may just signal the spotlight is refocusing yet again.
Just one of these fresh and exciting nightspots, signaling the start of a new era, is the re-launch of Bruno’s Downstairs at Hunky Dory Social Club. Bruno’s is the ground floor eatery that sits underneath the already popular bar and rooftop upstairs and it’s just been a given a brand new makeover. Inside and a world away from the neon lights of Kings Cross is the shear simplicity of the internal décor which features a religious motif of gospel themed paintings hanging on a subtle light red brickwork. It may have something to do with the Catholic upbringing of the head chef whose menu is as simple and striking as the design. Nadiele Trimarchi whose reputation was carved at Fratelli Paradiso and Icebergs offers a mouthwatering array of modern Italian fare.
Trimarchi’s menu is divided between Italian favourites like calamari fritti with a rich creamy aioli and the stark simplicity of a selection of cured meats and cheeses from his homeland. Mushrooms perfectly flavoured with spinach, gorgonzola and pine nuts are immaculately presented on a small wooden board while a twice cooked pork belly and the rib eye offer more substantial dishes for the hungry. The secret of Trimarchi’s menu is the quality of his ingredients which he keeps simple, allowing their freshness and quality to speak for themselves.
This philosophy is typified on his selection of pizzas, there are ten on the menu, most of which consist of just four ingredients. From the House signature the ‘Hunky Dory’- broccoli and roman sausage to the more adventurous Fruttio di Mare which is a must have for any seafood lover- the mussels and prawns are moist and succulent. They all have one theme in common; on those crunchy, perfectly formed bases the simplicity of the ingredients translates into mouthwatering pizzas that beat anything you’ll find on the golden mile.
Upstairs the hustle and bustle of the Social Club beckoning down the stairwell is a temptation best given in to. The outside rooftop is spacious and the quirkiness of couches from the most formal leather recliner to a comfortable homely looking three piece is the perfect place to end a meal which is why to find a seat on one you’ll need to arrive early. The bartender’s flair and creativity consistently draws a large crowd and Trimarchi serves pizzas until midnight on all three levels of the establishment. Given high quality fare in Sydney is hard to find a stoke past ten pm, this is just one more reason why Bruno’s is fast on its way to becoming a local icon and just one more reason why this little strip in the city is well on the way to putting Darlinghurst back on top as the number one nightlife destination in Sydney.
Bruno’s is situated at the Hunky Dory Social Club, 215 Oxford Street, Darlinghurst.