The first love you never forget
Restaurateur and celebrated chef, Orazio D’Elia will reopen the doors to Bondi’s much-loved restaurant, Da Orazio on Wednesday 30 March, as well as a new sidebar, Orazietto, located next door. The venue is in the same spot within The Hub Hall Street, the red entry door is back, and you can expect old classic dishes making a comeback to the menu, as well as a selection of new dishes and a chic new interior.
“In Italian we say, ‘il primo amore non si scorda mai’ which means the first love you never forget. Da Orazio was my first born, my first love, so to be able to bring the venue back to life means so much to me and my team. I can’t wait for all our Da Orazio friends to return, and welcome new friends”, says Orazio.
“We couldn’t resist bringing back the classic favourite dishes but I’ve been working on some exciting new dishes, inspired from growing up in Italy. And wait until you try the new pizzas. We’re using a new dough starter, and let me tell you, it’ll be easy to devour two margheritas!”
Orazio’s menu will combine favourites from the original Da Orazio menu, along with brand new dishes. Classic comebacks include the rotisserie porchetta with focaccia; fregola fruit di mare; as well as the antipasti Italiano plates for two and four. New dishes include brick chicken – pollo al mattone; scarpetta – baccala and fried pizza; mortadella cacio e pepe; and an Italian version of saganaki.
Orazio and pizza chef Matteo Ernandes have created a contemporary new pizza dough recipe, which produces lighter and more aromatic pizzas. Matteo has divided the process into two parts creating the biga first, which is a technique usually used for baking (ie: sourdough bread).
Matteo says, “Adapting the biga technique to the pizza dough, produces a lighter and more digestible dough. The temperature of the water is also fundamental, to ensure the tenacity of the dough even if it has a very high hydro.”
General Manager and partner, Cristiano Poddine is back on the floor and has pulled together the new wine list which showcases a selection of approachable Italian and French wines by the glass, carafe or bottle. Cocktails are broken up into Italian classics including the Americano and Negroni; Aperol Spritz and Melograno; Margaritas three ways; as well as an ode to the previous Da Orazio favourite, the MT8 – vodka, campari and ruby red grapefruit.
Though the location is familiar, the 90-seat restaurant has undergone a complete makeover. Orazio collaborated with Loopcreative to create a casual and chic space that is reminiscent of basking in the glow of an endless Italian summer.
Director of Loopcreative, Rod Faucheux says, “It was important for us that the design evolved from the original Da Orazio, yet retain some of the original DNA from its heritage as one of Bondi’s best loved venues. But in saying that, we stripped the space back to bare bones and rebuilt it to meet Orazio’s concept.”
The main bar and kitchen are clad with an artisan brick, and the walls are rendered and textured with a Mediterranean feel. Tan leather booths wrap the perimeter of one side of the room, along with custom-made tables featuring Italian tiles. The furniture features classic oak Bentwood chairs, and the lighting is handmade terracotta from Ancher ceramics.
Rodd adds, “Working with Orazio has been a lot of fun for us and his passion for food and devotion to family is infectious. We wanted to create a venue where people of all age groups can come together to experience his food in a space that is warm and welcoming, with an almost residential quality feel to the restaurant.”
Orazietto next door, seats up to 40 pax, and the extension is exclusively for walk-ins who can drink and dine on the same menus as the main restaurant, or sit and enjoy a drink as they wait for their table to become available at Da Orazio.
Da Orazio is open seven nights, from 5pm to late. Lunch on Saturday and Sunday from midday.
For all reservations, visit www.daorazio.com.au
Image credit: Jason Loucas