Lola’s Level 1, a Mediterranean restaurant and bar from Sydney hospitality veterans Marco Ambrosino and Manny Spinola, opened on 15 October.
On level 1 of Pacific Building in Bondi Beach, and overlooking the iconic beach, the 94-seat venue is split across a bar, dining room and balcony, and is open from noon to 10pm.
Co-owner Ambrosino said: “We’re excited to finally open the doors to Lola’s Level 1 in Bondi. Lola’s is all about fun and we’ve assembled one of the best restaurant teams in Sydney that will be able to deliver that. Lola’s is all about fun. We want Lola’s to be approachable – a place where you can drop in for a drink and some oysters; a place for a dinner with the family; or a long lunch on the balcony overlooking Bondi. The menu is focused on the plancha grill, and we’ll also be serving beautiful oysters shucked at the bar. The bar program is also really special, with an interesting cocktail list, and a wine list that includes interesting producers from Italy, Spain, Portugal and Australia”.
The Lola’s Level 1 kitchen is being led by Head Chef Paula Pantano, who comes to Lola’s with a background in five-star hotels, including Crown Sydney, Mandarin Oriental Group and Four Seasons. Luca Capecchi, with a career in bars and alcohol, is the venue manager. With a combined 30 years working in restaurants and wine, Louis West (formerly of Bentley Restaurant Group) and Mon Ditbunjong (formerly of Cumulus Inc, City Wine Shop, Dear Saint Élouise and Ragazzi) will be looking after sommelier duties.
The Lola’s Level 1 menu is designed to share and is split into sections – oysters, small plates, off the plancha, larger plates and desserts. There will always be three to four types of oysters on the menu, served natural, with a mignonette or vermouth granita. Dishes from the small plates section include: pan tumaca with hojiblanca extra virgin olive oil, PX balsamic and Iberico; burrata with citrus and basil; and ‘Cantabric’ anchovies with piquillo peppers. The ‘off the plancha’ section of the menu will have not only steaks such as Angus hanger steak with chimichurri and bullhorn pepper, but also spiced lamb skewers with goats curd and pickled cucumber; and octopus with charred eggplant and tahini. Larger plates include a Cez salad with chicken or prawns, and a lasagnetta with white osso bucco ragu and gremolata. Dessert includes a wattleseed ricotta cannoli; and charred pineapple, coconut sorbet, cacao and tepache – perfect for a Bondi summer.
The Lola’s Level 1 drinks program has a strong cocktail focus, showcasing Australian craft spirits, and with inventive spins on classic cocktails, including Rosita, two types of martinis and a Bloody Mary. The wine list, which includes more than 20 wines by the glass, has a focus on artisanal producers from the Mediterranean, as well as wines from Australian regions. Estrella will also be on pour from ceramic taps.
The moody interior, designed by H&E Architects, features a specialty stucco wall finish in custom blue to emulate the ocean; large, mirrored archways and art by Pina Ambrosino. The dining room, with terracotta lamps, dark-stained oak chairs, leads directly onto the balcony overlooking Bondi Beach.
Co-owner and Spinola said: “Marco and I have been friends for a long time and have always had a deep mutual respect for one another. We believe we have created something quite special with Lola’s Level 1, and look forward to working with the team and seeing diners in enjoying Paula’s food, with a glass of something nice, watching the sun go down over Bondi”.
Lola’s Level 1 opened on 15 October and be open daily, noon to 10pm.
Lola’s Level 1
Level 1, 180–186 Campbell Parade, Bondi NSW 2026
02 8294 0927
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Images: Nikki To